Environmental protection: alternatives to legal prosecution

Environmental protection alternative measures (EPAMs) are an alternative to court prosecution for a violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) 1999. Alternative measures are also found in the Criminal Codefor adult offenders and under the Youth Justice Act for juveniles. EPAMs under CEPA1999 divert the accused -- whether a company, individual or government agency -- away from the court process after the person is charged.

An EPAM is an agreement negotiated with the accused by the Attorney General of Canada, in consultation with the Minister of the Environment. The EPAM will contain measures that the accused must take in order to restore compliance. Examples of those measures are:

  • development of pollution prevention measures to reduce releases of a toxic substance down to regulated limits;
  • installation of better pollution control technology or monitoring systems;
  • changes to production to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements; and
  • clean-up of environmental damage.

Once the conditions of the EPAM agreement are met, the charges are dropped.

Not every alleged offender is eligible for an EPAM. After charges are laid against the alleged violator, it is up to the Attorney General of Canada, represented by the Crown prosecutor, to:

  • apply the factors listed in s.296 of CEPA 1999 (e.g. the accused’s history of compliance with the Act); and
  • determine whether an EPAM should be offered to an alleged offender.

EPAM agreements are registered in court as public documents, and s.301 of CEPA 1999 requires their publication a notice of their availability in the CEPA environmental registry.

Notices of the EPAM agreements or the EPAM agreements themselves will be published on this site and will remain for five years from the time they are signed. Notices of variations to an agreement and final reports, or the variations and final reports themselves, as well as any prosecutions recommenced upon breach of an agreement, will also be published on this site and will remain until the five year period has expired.

For more information, contact:

National Enforcement Headquarters
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Fontaine Building,
200 Sacre Coeur Blvd, 13th floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3

Contact us by telephone at:
1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-938-3860

Enforcement Branch website

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