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New Environmental Enforcement Laws in Canada


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April 21, 2016 by John Nicholson

The Canadian federal government recently released proposed regulations that provide federal environmental enforcement officers an administrative alternative to existing enforcement measures.  The proposed Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette on April 9, 2016, and provide key details necessary for the implementation of the administrative monetary penalties (“AMP”) regime authorized by the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act (“EVAMPA”).

The proposed AMPs Regulations would designate provisions of the following six acts and their associated regulations that could be enforced by means of an AMP:

  • Antarctic Environmental Protection Act;
  • Canada Wildlife Act;
  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Parts 7 and 9 only;
  • International River Improvements Act;
  • Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; and
  • Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

The proposed AMPs Regulations would also specify the method used to calculate the amount of an AMP, including baseline penalty amounts for different types of violations and violators, and aggravating factors that, if applicable, increase the amount of the penalty.

The proposed AMPs Regulations would not introduce any new legal obligations, create new prohibitions or limits on conduct, or impose new administrative or compliance costs. AMPs would be a new tool to help achieve higher levels of compliance with federal environmental legislation, offering an alternative to the existing penal system and supplementing existing enforcement measures.

In conjunction with the publication of the proposed AMPs Regulations, Environment and Climate Change Canada has published “Policy Framework of the Administrative Monetary Penalty System at Environment and Climate Change Canada to Implement the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act”, which outlines some operational aspects of the proposed AMPs regime and responds to questions raised during the 2011 consultation on AMPs.


John Nicholson

John Nicholson

John is a cleantech and environmental expert with over 25 years of experience. He is a registered professional engineer and has a Masters degree in environmental engineering.
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