New Environmental Enforcement Act Cracks Down on Environmental Offenders
OTTAWA, Ont. -- June 18, 2009 -- Cracking down on polluters, poachers and wildlife smugglers through increased fines and new enforcement tools are the main elements of the new Environmental Enforcement Act, which received Royal Assent today.
“In the election campaign, our government committed to bolster the protection of our water, air and land through tougher environmental enforcement that holds polluters accountable. Today we delivered,” said Environment Minister Jim Prentice. “This Act, together with funding commitments of $43 million from Budgets 2007 and 2008 to hire more enforcement officers and to implement the new measures, will provide a comprehensive, modern and effective enforcement regime for Canada.”
Introduced in the House of Commons by Minister Prentice, the Environmental Enforcement Act, sets minimum fines for serious offences of between $5,000 for individuals and $500,000 for large corporations. As well, the Act raises maximum fines to as high as $6 million. The bill also gives enforcement officers new powers to investigate cases and grants courts new sentencing authorities that ensure penalties reflect the seriousness of the pollution and wildlife offences.
All 106 planned new enforcement officers have now been hired by Environment Canada and will complete their training by August. These new resources, coupled with strong new legislation, will position Canada at the forefront of environmental enforcement.
The Act also expands the authority to deal with environmental offenders by:
- specifying aggravating factors such as causing damage to wildlife or wildlife habitat, or causing damage that is extensive, persistent or irreparable;
- providing fine ranges higher for corporate offenders than for individuals;
- doubling fine ranges for repeat offenders;
- authorizing the suspension and cancellation of licenses, permits or other authorizations upon conviction;
- requiring corporate offenders to report convictions to shareholders; and
- mandating the reporting of corporate offences on a public registry.
As well, the Act directs that fines imposed by the courts go to the Environmental Damages Fund which provides funding to local environmental restoration, improvement, research and development, and public education initiatives.
For more information about this act please visit Environment Canada’s Web site. For copies of the Act: An Act to make amendments relating to the enforcement of, and to enact provisions respecting the enforcement of, certain Acts that relate to the environment, please visit: http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&xml=2ADA2898-0852-46C6-97CF-C27DF9FF8D00.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Environment Canada Media Relations
- Date Modified: