This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Skip booklet index and go to page content

ARCHIVED - A Guide to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 March 2000

Part 10: Enforcement (Sections 216 - 312)

The Minister designates enforcement officers and sets out their specific peace officer powers. These individuals are normally Environment Canada employees, but can also include employees of a provincial, territorial or aboriginal government involved in the administration of an environmental protection law.

CEPA 1999 provides authority to inspect any place where there might be a substance or activity regulated under the Act. Enforcement officers have the authority to seize evidence related to a contravention.

CEPA 1999 provides authority to issue Environmental Protection Compliance Orders (EPCOs) to stop illegal activity or to require action to correct a violation. These Orders are valid for up to 180 days.

A person subject to an EPCO may make representations to the enforcement officer before the order is issued, or seek review of the order by an independent Review Officer appointed under the Act (Sections 243 - 268). The Order remains in effect until the Review Officer rules otherwise. After a decision by the Review Officer, the person subject to the Order may also appeal to the Federal Court. The right of appeal is also available to the Minister.

In cases when a corporation commits an offence, liability applies to any officer, director or agent who directed, participated or assented to the violation. In addition, directors and officers of a corporation have a duty to "take all reasonable care" to ensure the corporation complies with the Act.

The maximum penalty under CEPA 1999 is a fine of up to $1 million a day or up to five years' imprisonment. The court can also levy a fine equal to any profits earned as a result of the offence. The Act includes sentencing criteria to promote consideration by the courts of matters such as the cost to remedy the damage done to the environment.

Environmental Protection Alternative Measures (EPAMs) allow for negotiated settlements that avoid the time and expense of lengthy court cases. These provisions are similar to those found in the Criminal Code and the Young Offenders Act. CEPA 1999 explicitly excludes certain serious offences from being eligible for EPAMs.

EPAMs are negotiated between an accused and the Attorney General of Canada after charges are laid. The accused must freely consent to negotiate and must also accept responsibility for the offence.

If the accused does not live up to the terms of the agreement, the original charges can be reactivated. On the other hand, if the terms of the EPAM are fulfilled and the accused is again in compliance with the law, charges can be suspended or withdrawn entirely with no recorded conviction or criminal record.

Date modified: