Environmental Enforcement Act

The Environmental Enforcement Act (EEA), the bulk of which came into force in 2010, strengthened and harmonized enforcement regimes in the following nine acts:

  • the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act (AEPA);
  • the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act (CNMCAA);
  • the Canada National Parks Act (CNPA);
  • the Canada Wildlife Act (CWA);
  • the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA);
  • the International River Improvements Act (IRIA);
  • the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA);
  • the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Act (SSLMPA); and
  • the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA).

The EEA enhanced the fine regime under each act, adding tailored ranges of fines for different categories of offenders and introducing minimum fines and increased maximum fines for serious offences. In addition, the EEA introduced a common, stronger set of sentencing principles and enhanced the toolkit available to enforcement officers, including expanded use of compliance orders and a new public registry of corporate offenders.

The EEA also authorizes the establishment of a new enforcement tool –administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) – through the enactment of the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act (EVAMPA). AMPs are civil penalties designed to create a financial disincentive to non-compliance and to provide an alternative to other enforcement measures, such as written warnings and prosecution, which may not be effective or appropriate in all situations.

Coming into Force

The implementation of the EEA is taking place in stages.

Stage One: December 10, 2010

  • All amendments to the AEPA, IRIA, CNMCAA, CNPA and SSLMPA came into force.
  • Some amendments to the CEPA, MBCA, CWA and WAPPRIITA came into force (not including the new fine regime).
  • EVAMPA was brought into force (but regulations under EVAMPA are required before AMPs are available as an enforcement measure to respond to violations).

Stage Two:  June 22, 2012

  • The remaining amendments to CEPA came into force.
  • The Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999) came into force, designating provisions of regulations under CEPA which, if contravened, attract minimum fines and an increased range of fines following a conviction. (For further details please refer to the CEPA Environmental Registry).

Stage Three: In development

Three remaining steps are required to fully implement the EEA:

  • An Order in Council will bring into force the remaining EEA provisions amending the CWA, MBCA and WAPPRIITA;
  • Regulations under the CWA and the MBCA will come into force to designate provisions of regulations under those acts which, if contravened, attract minimum fines and an increased range of fines upon conviction; and
  • Regulations under EVAMPA will come into force to enable the use of AMPs for violations of provisions of specified acts and regulations administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Proposed regulations under EVAMPA, the CWA and the MBCA

The proposed Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (AMPs Regulations) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on April 9, 2016 for a 60-day comment period. At the same time, the “Policy Framework of the Administrative Monetary Penalty System at Environment and Climate Change Canada to Implement the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act” (Policy Framework Document for AMPs) was released. It outlines some operational aspects of the proposed AMPs regime and responds to questions raised during the 2011 consultation on AMPs.

For further details on the proposed AMPs Regulations and the Policy Framework Document for AMPs, and to provide comments, please refer to the EVAMPA consultations page.

The proposed Designation of Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Canada Wildlife Act) Regulations and Designation of Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994) Regulations (the Wildlife Designation Regulations) were also published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on April 9, 2016 for a 60-day comment period. For further details on the proposed Wildlife Designation Regulations, and to provide comments, please refer to the Canada Gazette.

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