Environmental Enforcement Act


The Environmental Enforcement Act (EEA) delivers on the Government’s commitment to bolster protection of water, air, land, and wildlife through more effective enforcement.

The EEA amends 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 1999);
  • the International River Improvements Act (IRIA);
  • the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA);
  • the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Act (SSLMPA);
  • the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA)

The EEA provides a common set of principles and factors to be taken into account in sentencing, the enforcement tools (such as Environmental Protection Compliance Orders and AMPs), and the fine regimes across all of the amended acts.

The EEA also introduces a new fine scheme that more accurately reflects the seriousness of environmental offences. The Act sets out fine ranges that vary according to the nature of the offence and the type of offender (such as corporate offenders and individual offenders).

Finally, the EEA also creates the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act (EVAMPA), which sets out an Administrative Monetary Penalties system.  Administrative Monetary Penalties, or AMPs, have been part of enforcement schemes in other areas but their application to environmental violations is relatively recent.  AMPs are civil or administrative in nature, rather than penal or criminal.  They are designed to provide an efficient response to violations where there is no need for denunciation and punishment.

Coming into Force

The implementation of the Enviornmental Enforcement Act is taking place in stages.

Stage one: December 10, 2010

Amendments to the three acts administered by Parks Canada as well as the AEPA, and the IRIA came into force on December 10, 2010. Some amendments to the CEPA 1999, MBCA, CWA and WAPRIITA also came into force on December 10, 2010. Notably, the new fine schemes in those Acts were not brought into force in this stage. EVAMPA was also brought into force on this date.

Stage two: June-July, 2012

An Order in Council bringing the EEA amendments to CEPA 1999  into force and regulations designating which CEPA offences are subject to the higher fine range came into force on June 22, 2012.  Details of those regulations and the effect of the changes (including which offences are now subject to mandatory minimum fines and increased maximum fines) are available on-line.

Stage three: In development

The final three steps will occur at approximately the same time:

  • an Order in Council and regulations bringing into effect the amended fine regime under the MBCA and the CWA;
  • an Order in Council bringing the remaining provisions of WAPRIITA into force; and
  • the coming into effect of the AMPs system under EVAMPA.
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