Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Policy on Providing Guidance on Regulatory Requirements

This policy outlines Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) approach to helping regulated parties understand their regulatory obligations.

Departmental context

ECCC administers over 70 regulations to help ensure Canada’s air and water remain clean, that wildlife and habitats are conserved, and that the health of Canadians is protected in every region of the country.

To help the department apply its regulations in a fair, predictable and consistent manner, ECCC has developed the following compliance and enforcement policies for its major legislation:

Consistent with the department’s goal to achieve regulatory excellence, ECCC will do its best to facilitate awareness and clear understanding of its regulatory requirements. The following describes the department’s commitments in the areas of building awareness, service, and stakeholder engagement. These commitments build on existing government-wide commitments respecting communications and service to Canadians, and values and ethics for the public sector.

Building an awareness of regulatory requirements

ECCC will:

  • prepare regulations in as plain language as possible
  • provide guidance materials  to help stakeholders understand regulatory requirements
  • where there is a need, prepare additional information such as summaries, frequently asked questions (FAQs), fact sheets and technical guidance, to help the regulated community be aware of and understand the department’s regulations
  • make this information and departmental contact information widely available

Responding to enquiries

ECCC officials will:

  • make every effort to provide accurate responses
  • normally acknowledge or answer in writing within 30 working days of its receipt, any written inquiry concerning the application of regulations
  • maintain internal processes so that departmental representatives are able to communicate regulatory requirements in a clear and consistent manner
  • correct, in writing and as soon as possible, any incorrect information provided in a written response
  • update guidance materials, FAQs and other supplemental reference materials in response to recurring queries

ECCC does not provide legal advice about how specific regulations may apply to particular circumstances.

Commitment to professional service

  • ECCC officials will address all inquiries in a timely manner and with courtesy, respect and professionalism in the official language of choice.
  • ECCC will ensure that staff responding to inquiries are knowledgeable and trained to support the service commitments in this policy.

Stakeholder engagement

  • ECCC will engage stakeholders as appropriate and in the official language of their choice when developing practices and materials that facilitate understanding, awareness and compliance with the department’s regulations.
  • ECCC uses feedback received from stakeholders during the regulatory consultation process to plan and prepare materials and activities to promote regulatory compliance, where appropriate.
  • In addition to regulatory consultations, ECCC engages stakeholders through mechanisms such as advisory committees.
  • ECCC encourages stakeholders to address their inquiries or complaints through an identified departmental contact.
  • ECCC monitors regulation-related inquiries and complaints, and addresses problems as soon as possible.
  • ECCC analyzes inquiries and comments received from stakeholders to better adapt its materials to their needs.

Date of last revision of this policy

This policy was last updated on March 31, 2019.

Consult ECCC’s acts and regulations web page for:

  • a list of acts and regulations administered by ECCC
  • further information on the department’s implementation of government-wide regulatory management initiatives

Consult the following for links to the Cabinet Directive on Regulation and supporting policies and guidance, and for information on government-wide regulatory initiatives implemented by departments and agencies across the Government of Canada:

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit:

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