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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for the Period of April 1997 to March 1998

CEPA Part VII: General Information

Part VII of the Act addresses enforcement of regulations under the Act. Under Section 34(6) the federal government can enter into an Equivalency Agreement with a province, so that its requirements are enforced in place of the equivalent CEPA regulation. In addition, under Section 98, the federal government can enter into Administrative Agreements with provinces, which include enforcement.


Regulations are based on science and encourage innovative solutions. The potential economic impact is considered and while they are strictly enforced, they are not inflexible. Currently, 26 regulations are in place under the Act.

CEPA Regulations Currently in Force

  • Asbestos Regulations
  • Benzene in Gasoline Regulations
  • Chlor-Alkali Mercury Release Regulations
  • Chlorobiphenyls Regulations
  • Chloroflurocarbure Regulations, 1989
  • Diesel Fuel Regulations
  • Contaminated Fuel Regulations
  • Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations (as amended)
  • Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations
  • Fuels Information Regulations No. 1
  • Gasoline Regulations (as amended)
  • Masked Name Regulations
  • New Substances Notification Regulations (as amended)
    • Part I - New substances other than biotechnology products or polymers
    • Part II - Polymers
    • Part III - Biotechnology Products
  • Ocean Dumping Regulations (as amended)
  • Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations (as amended)
  • Ozone-depleting Substances Products Regulations (as amended)
  • PCB Waste Export Regulations, 1996
  • Phosphorus Concentration Regulations
  • Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations
  • Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations
  • Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations
  • Registration of Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products on Federal Lands Regulations
  • Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations
  • Storage of PCB Materials Regulations
  • Toxic Substances Export Notification Regulations
  • Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations

New Regulations

Benzene in Gasoline Regulations

The Benzene in Gasoline Regulations, published in the Canada Gazette Part II on November 26, 1997, prohibit the manufacture, blend and import, after July 1, 1999, of gasoline that contains benzene at a concentration exceeding 1% by volume. It also prohibits the sale or offer for sale of gasoline that contains benzene at a concentration that exceeds 1.5% by volume after July 1, 2000 in certain northern supply areas, and after October 1, 1999 everywhere else in Canada.

Notices of Objection and Boards of Review

The public may file a Notice of Objection respecting actions or regulations taken under the Act. The procedures set out in Part VII of the Act allow a Board of Review to be established to examine a Notice of Objection. During 1997-98, no Notices of Objection were received.

Enforcement and Compliance

Part VII provides for enforcement powers, including powers to inspect, search for and seize evidence, and prosecute for offences with penalties that include fines up to $1,000,000, jail sentences up to five years, or both, or court orders.

The CEPA Enforcement and Compliance Policy establishes principles for fair, predictable and consistent enforcement. It informs all parties who share responsibility for protecting the environment - governments, industry, organized labour and individuals - about what is expected of them and what to expect from the officials who promote compliance and enforce CEPA and its regulations.

Compliance with the law by the regulated community is the goal of the National Enforcement Program. Achieving compliance requires a continuum of activities, from promoting compliance, verifying compliance through inspections, and compelling compliance through enforcement. Promoting compliance includes involving the regulated community in the regulation development process, building awareness of regulatory requirements, identifying potential problems, and sharing technology.

CEPA provides for a variety of mechanisms to verify compliance, including inspection, taking of samples, auditing of reports, responding to tips, self-reporting and investigations.

Inspection programs verify compliance with the law and its regulations. Regular inspections are carried out according to an annual National Inspection Plan, which identifies the quantity and types of inspections and monitoring activities to be carried out each year. Inspections are also conducted in response to spill reports, tips and complaints.

When suspected violations occur, investigations are undertaken to gather evidence and information in order to make a decision on the appropriate enforcement action. Action is necessary in situations where there is non-compliance with the legislation. In provinces where cooperative arrangements have been put in place through negotiated administrative agreements certain inspection and/or enforcement activities, relating to CEPA as defined in these agreements, may be carried out by provincial inspectors in accordance with the roles and responsibilities.

Federal Enforcement Activities during 1997-98
CEPA Section 108*3   211
PCB Material Storage182121  1 
PCB Waste Export10      
Secondary Lead53      
Vinyl Chloride3      
Asbestos Mines and Mills Release31      
Chlor-alkali Mercury Release1      
Gasoline236 2    
Ozone-Depleting Substances112147   1
Ozone-Depleting Products94 2    
Ocean Dumping73115 3  
Export/Import of Hazardous Wastes36274 21 
Phosphorus concentration21      
Pulp & Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chips52      
Fuels Information Regulation No. 120      
New Substances Notification3016    
National Pollutant Release Inventory8924161    
Contaminated Fuel3      
Diesel Fuel140      
Pulp & Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans34      
Registration of Storage Tank Systems3      
CEPA Section 46**8      

* Section 108 of CEPA allows any two individuals, who are over 18 years of age and are residents of Canada, to request that the Minister investigate an alleged violation of the Act. The Minister is required by the statute to comply with that request, and to report back to the two individuals who requested the investigation.

** Section 46 of CEPA prohibits production, import, offer for sale or sale of a fuel that is not in compliance with regulations made under s.47.

National Training Program

Training continues to be of major importance in maintaining and enhancing the enforcement program. It is linked to the designation of enforcement staff and the ability to perform various skills at expected levels. The National Training Program comprises a wide range of courses developed and delivered through the collaborative efforts of headquarters and regional staff. Participants include analysts, inspectors and investigators. Subjects range from those dealing with general skills, for example the Basic Inspectors Course, to very specialized regulation-specific responsibilities and advanced investigative techniques.

In 1997-98, the following courses relating to environmental enforcement were given:

  • CEPA Course for Yukon Conservation Officers and Park Wardens, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Canada Customs Officers;
  • Surveillance Training;
  • New Substances Notification Regulations;
  • Exercise on Marine Operations and Safety;
  • Multimedia Sampling;
  • 40-Hour Contaminated Site Health and Safety; and
  • Expert Witness Training for Analysts.

Approximately 250 individuals received training in the above courses during the reporting period. A catalogue and training schedule of courses offered by Environment Canada is available upon request.

Computerized Information Systems

Environment Canada took steps to implement a new National Enforcement Management Information System and Intelligence System (NEMISIS). This system was first released in June 1997 and a refined version based on user needs was subsequently released in November. NEMISIS is a tool used by enforcement staff to record, track and share among enforcement staff vital information on enforcement activities across Canada. Additionally, the system will be used to generate various detailed statistical reports related to the legislation enforced by the Department. In order to ensure consistency of enforcement information entered into NEMISIS, the definitions of a number of key enforcement activities were re-visited and were agreed upon nationally. Environment Canada is one of the first departments to standardize enforcement activity definitions and data entry requirements. The system has been well accepted by the users with over 5000 files entered between September 1997 and March 1998.

Domestic Activities

  • Preliminary work was undertaken in the development of performance and compliance indicators for enforcement activities. A thorough study of relevant federal departments’ approaches was completed and further work to develop a strategy on indicators was undertaken.
  • The Auditor General reported that there were deficiencies in the enforcement of the Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations and the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations. The Department has prepared action plans to respond to these recommendations and is implementing them.
  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development initiated a review of Environment Canada’s enforcement activities. At the very end of this fiscal year, plans were in place to initiate an action plan to strengthen components of the national enforcement program.
  • Environment Canada and Manitoba as co-leads for the Inspection Sub-Agreement of the Canada-wide Accord on Environmental Harmonization have identified, through consultation with all provinces and other federal departments, the interest in a national workshop to discuss opportunities for co-operation in the areas of training of inspectors and information systems.
  • A joint RCMP/Environment Canada Working Group was created to explore opportunities for developing effective means of carrying out criminal law enforcement activities performed by the RCMP and Environment Canada.
  • Environment Canada continued to manage the development of a Train-the-Trainer Course for Environmental Criminal Investigations under the auspices of an INTERPOL working group. The course is designed to train local law enforcement officers to look for and recognize illegal dumping of hazardous substances, discharges of pollutants, and whom to call if environmental crimes are encountered.
  • The enforcement program adopted an approach for a joint compliance promotion and enforcement strategy for implementing regulations.
  • Environment Canada’s Green Lane contains enforcement and compliance promotion information. Development of an Environmental Law Enforcement home page was initiated. This web site will serve as the main gateway to enforcement information, and will include legislation, policies, reports, and information about successful prosecutions.

International Activities

The North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) obliges Mexico, the United States and Canada to report annually to the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation on their respective environmental enforcement activities. The third report was provided to the Commission in early 1998. The Report covers three themes, two of which were related to CEPA, specifically hazardous wastes and ozone-depleting substances.

Coordination continued on transboundary enforcement activities to meet with international conventions and agreements that Canada has signed. Canada is strengthening its working relationship with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Customs to curtail the trafficking in materials such as hazardous wastes and ozone-depleting substances such as CFCs. For example, in February, 1998, a Fredericton man was ordered to pay $20,000 in New Brunswick provincial court after pleading guilty to knowingly providing false and misleading information during a 1994 inspection related to the export of CFCs to the United States. This outcome was precedent setting as it was the first time a significant fine was imposed for obstructing and preventing Environment Canada inspectors from performing their duties. The man was also charged by the United States Attorney for the District of Maine with illegally importing approximately 75 tons of CFCs into the United States.

In both cases, the charges were in large part due to the ongoing co-operative efforts of law enforcement agencies in Canada and the United States, including Environment Canada, Canada Customs, the New Brunswick Department of the Environment, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency and U.S. Customs.

The North American Working Group on Environmental Enforcement consisting of representatives from the three NAFTA countries (Canada, the United States and Mexico), has ongoing projects to facilitate effective enforcement and cooperation. Included in its achievements are:

  • publication of the North American Directory of Hazardous Waste Enforcement Officials;
  • publication of the catalogue of North American Environmental Enforcement Training Courses;
  • joint sponsorship of border area meetings of enforcement and customs officials to explore avenues for improved regional capacity to track and respond to illegal trade in CFCs; and
  • sponsorship of the May 1997 North American Conference of Hazardous Waste Enforcement Officials, during which an action plan was developed for addressing barriers to effective enforcement.
Prosecutions Initiated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act during 1997-1998
(No prosecutions under CEPA were initiated during 1997-98 for the following regions:
Pacific and Yukon Region, Prairie and Northern Region, Quebec Region)
Name of Individual or CompanyOffence Date and LocationDate ChargedRegulations and Alleged OffencesCourt DateResultPenaltyNotes
Ontario Region
Prototype Circuits Inc. and Mohammed ZadehMay 1996 - Nov 1996January 1998CEPA, 11 counts under section 43(3) of CEPA, section 3(4) of the Export/Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations. Alleged failure to file a notice to export. 11 counts under section 44(2) of CEPA, section 16(1)c of the EIHW Regulations. Alleged export without written confirmation.Sept. 14-18 1998   
Alcan Aluminium Limited carrying business as Alcan Recycling - Division of Alcan Aluminium Limited and Peter Dalla ViaApr 1995 - Aug 1996Mar 12, 1998CEPA, 60 counts Export/Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations. Allegedly failed to file a notice to export and import without written confirmation.Oct 16, 1998   
Atlantic Region
M. V. Brandenberg
St. John's
100 Nautical Miles south of Cape St. Mary's
Feb 1998CEPA, Ocean DumpingJuly 29, 1998   
La Digue Fisheries Limited and Pierre LaBlanc
P.O. Box 301
Nova Scotia
September 25, 1997Mar 27, 1998CEPA, Ocean Dumping
Allegedly loaded and dumped herring offal without a permit.
July 19, 1998Guilty Plea to dumping$7 500 fineCharges for loading for the purpose of dumping were dismissed.
Cheticamp Packers (1991) Ltd. and their Directors
Box 580
Nova Scotia
September 25, 1997Mar 27, 1998CEPA, Section 103
Allegedly providing an Environment Canada inspector with false and misleading information regarding an activity regulated under CEPA.
July 19, 1998Charges were dismissed  
M. V. Atlantic CartierNovember 20, 1997Nov 20, 1997CEPA, Ocean DumpingJuly 29, 1998   
City Sales Ltd.
New Brunswick
March-June 1993May 20, 1997CEPA, section 103.
Allegedly provide an Environment Canada inspector with false and misleading information regarding an activity regulated unde CEPA and CEPA, Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations.
13 counts Allegedly export CFCs without a valid permit.
Feb 19, 1998Pleaded Guilty$20 000
Charges under Ozone-depleting Regulations were withdrawn.
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