Role of enforcement under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

When regulations are developed under CEPA 1999, stakeholders provide input and comment at various stages. Compliance is easier when those being regulated understand the purpose of regulations and have input into their creation. Environment and Climate Change Canada promotes compliance through information sessions, conferences and workshops with regulatees in attendance as well as through fact sheets, manuals, guidelines, reports, and notices in the Canada Gazette. It is hoped that by providing the means to participate in the creation of regulations and by promoting compliance using the tools outlined above, a high rate of compliance will result.

Enforcement is part of the compliance continuum, and part of the goal in achieving the highest level of environmental quality for all Canadians. Usually, the first stage of enforcement is inspection by site visit or review of submitted reports or other documents as a means of verifying compliance with the Act and its regulations.

In cases of non-compliance, enforcement officers will investigate. If a violation is confirmed, action will be taken using one or more of the enforcement tools available under CEPA 1999 such as warnings, directions, tickets, orders of various types, including environmental protection compliance orders, injunction or prosecution.

A detailed report on enforcement activities is available in the annual report for CEPA 1999 that the Minister of Environment is required to submit to Parliament for every fiscal year. The CEPA environmental registry contains the report for the current fiscal year, and for fiscal years previous to the current one, please consult the CEPA annual reports - archives.

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