Closed consultation: Environmental Fines and Sentencing 10-Year Review
Current status: closed
This engagement ran from June 16, 2021 to August 31, 2021.
For information on the discussions that took place, see the final report titled “Report on the Review of the Federal Environmental Fines and Sentencing Regime – 10 years later” that was tabled by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada in each House of Parliament on December 9, 2021.
December 10, 2020 marked the beginning of a mandatory review, required every 10 years, of the fines and sentencing provisions of 10 key federal environmental laws enforced by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Parks Canada:
- Antarctic Environmental Protection Act (AEPA);
- Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act (CNMCAA);
- Canada National Parks Act (CNPA);
- Canada Wildlife Act (CWA);
- Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA);
- International River Improvements Act (IRIA);
- Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA);
- Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marina Park Act (SSLMPA);
- Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA); and
- Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA).
About the consultation
In June 2021 Environment and Climate Change Canada and Parks Canada published A Discussion Paper Regarding the Environmental Fines and Sentencing Regime, 10 Years Later. The purpose of this paper was to inform the review and seek public views on whether the fine amounts and sentencing principles in these 10 Acts advance all of the relevant goals (deterrence, denunciation, polluter pays, recovery and restoration) and remain consistent with public values, as well as economic and other relevant circumstances. To this end, the paper included questions to prompt discussion in the course of engagement. It also provided background on the Environmental Enforcement Act to contextualize the Review, set out the approach to the review and included examples of findings, all with a view to support the engagement process for the Review.
For further context on this review, please visit: About the Environmental Enforcement Act.
Who was consulted
The Government of Canada engaged with:
- Environmental non-governmental organizations
- Industry stakeholders
- Indigenous peoples
Key questions examined
Are the fundamental purposes of sentencing consistent with public values, as well as economic and other relevant circumstances?
Are the fines and sentencing provisions consistent with public values, as well as economic and other relevant circumstances to advance the fundamental purposes of sentencing?
Are the ancillary clauses, for example, clauses that deal with the due diligence defence and limitations periods, consistent with public values, as well as economic and other relevant circumstances?
Comments on broader enforcement matters beyond fines and sentencing provisions were also welcomed as part of this engagement process.
What we heard
Key issues raised by stakeholders related to, for example, the fundamental purposes of sentencing, amount of fines, non-fine sentencing orders, and aggravating and mitigating factors. The input gathered through the public engagement process informed the review, along with a range of other research material, such as academic journals, relevant Canadian case law, enforcement data, other federal legislation, and experience and legislation from provinces, territories and other comparable jurisdictions.
A report entitled, “Report on the Review of the Federal Environmental Fines and Sentencing Regime – 10 years later” was tabled by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister responsible for Parks Canada in each House of Parliament on December 9, 2021. The review found that the fine amounts and sentencing principles in the Acts continue to advance the goals of the sentencing regime (such as deterrence and polluter pays principle) and remain consistent with public values, as well as economic and other relevant circumstances.
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