Mr. Speaker, there are three reactors in different provinces. In Ontario, there is Ontario Power Generation in Bruce. In New Brunswick, there are the operators at New Brunswick Power. In Quebec, it is Hydro-Québec.
This piece of legislation addresses an important issue. As I indicated in my question for the parliamentary secretary, it is a piece of legislation that has not been updated for a very substantial period of time.
I know there are only a few minutes remaining before question period, but I think it is important for Canadians to understand what we are debating. Bill C-5 is an act respecting civil liability and compensation for damage in case of a nuclear incident. It establishes a specific civil liability and a regime with respect to nuclear incidents and repeals the current Nuclear Liability Act, which provides the regime today.
This act, which will repeal the Nuclear Liability Act, is very similar to that act. It does make operators of nuclear installations exclusively liable but, as I indicated, it increases significantly, from $75 million to $650 million, the extent of their liability and the financial security they are required to maintain. The establishment of a form of civil liability and a requirement to pay compensation in respect of damage caused by a nuclear incident is in line with the efforts to manage and minimize the risk involved in the use of nuclear material.
The bill establishes a specific liability regime applicable in the case of a nuclear incident and sets out the terms and conditions in respect of the civil liability and the compensation to be paid for any damage caused in such circumstances. It also provides for the establishment of a tribunal to administer the claims arising from the nuclear incident.
I was very interested in this and did a little research. The bill states specifically that it is binding on the federal government and on the provinces and it excludes two types of circumstances. The first exclusion includes incidents resulting from an act of war, hostilities, civil war or insurrection, but not a terrorist activity as defined in the Criminal Code. The second exclusion is damage to a nuclear installation or any property located at the installation and used in connection with it if the operator of the installation is responsible for the damage.
Earlier in the debate, there was some question with regard to the liability exclusion of suppliers of equipment that would be used in these plants. As someone who is not an expert in this area, I am not exactly sure about this and certainly would want to ask this question. In the event that there is a fault with regard to the equipment supplier, the operator itself, the purchaser of that equipment, would have legal recourse. I am not sure how far the umbrella has to go to insure all those who are directly or indirectly the source of the problem and the cause for the liability and the costs and damages to be incurred.
Because of the time constraints, I am not going to be able to deliver all of my speech, but in preparing for this debate today I noted that the minister laid out the main principles of the bill. The responsibility of providing an insurance framework for the nuclear industry falls under federal jurisdiction. That is one of the reasons why we need this. It is a framework that is in existence today. Both the current legislation and Bill C-5 apply to nuclear power plants, nuclear research reactors, fuel fabrication facilities and facilities managing nuclear fuel.
There are three principles involved that the legislation tries to emulate. Those are the principles of absolute and exclusive liability of the operator, mandatory insurance, and limitations in the time and amount. These are the kinds of things that are consistent with legislation internationally.
I understand that we are going to break now. Unfortunately, I will not be able to be in the House to continue my speech due to committee responsibilities, but I appreciate having at least this brief time to address the House on Bill C-5.