Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Annual Report to Parliament for April 2019 to March 2020: chapter 6

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6. Compliance promotion and enforcement

To achieve greater compliance with the Act and its risk management tools, both compliance promotion activities and enforcement measures are used.

The goal of compliance promotion is to increase awareness of and voluntary compliance with regulatory and non-regulatory instruments in an effort to limit harm to the environment and human health and consequential enforcement actions. Compliance promotion officers across Canada provide information to regulated communities on what is required to comply with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), the benefits of compliance, and the consequences of non-compliance.

The goal of enforcement activities is to ensure enforcement of the Act is done in a fair, predictable and consistent manner. CEPA provides enforcement officers with a wide range of powers to enforce the Act, including the powers of a peace officer.

Enforcement activities are conducted in accordance with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for CEPA andit is available online.

6.1 Compliance promotion priorities

Each year, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) develops a list of priorities for delivery of compliance promotion activities on issues such as chemical management, air pollutants, and greenhouse gas emissions. Factors that influence the identification of priority activities include the recent publication of new or amended regulatory and non-regulatory instruments, new requirements coming into force, level of compliance, and need to maintain awareness, understanding, or compliance for specific requirements. Resources are aligned with the identified compliance promotion priorities.

In 2019-2020, compliance promotion activities were carried out on 18 priority regulatory and non-regulatory CEPA instruments, namely:

ECCC also worked on planning the implementation for 29 new or amended regulatory and non-regulatory instruments published in the Canada Gazette, Parts I and II.

6.2 Compliance promotion activities

Multiple compliance promotion approaches were used to reach the regulated communities, including workshops, information sessions, presentations, information package emails, mail-outs, articles, phone calls, and social media platforms. Many of these activities were carried out in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, as well as non-governmental organizations and associations.

In 2019-2020, a total of 16 406 known or potential regulatees received compliance promotion material and 7 558 stakeholders were contacted by ECCC for clarification of regulatory requirements and/or additional information. Most enquiries and feedback were received by email, while the remainder came by fax, letter and telephone.

ECCC was particularly successful in launching a number of compliance promotion initiatives:

In 2019-2020, ECCC continued to expand its capacity to verify compliance with the transportation sector’s emission regulations, including identifying devices to defeat the emission regulations. ECCC also conducted 8 major inspections at fuels facilities, including detailed reviews of regulatory records. The expanded program increases opportunities to identify non-compliant regulatees and take enforcement action where required.

Promoting compliance to Indigenous people

In 2019-2020, the Compliance Promotion Program focused efforts to reach remote Indigenous communities for 2 CEPA regulations, namely the PCB Regulations and the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations. Compliance Promotion Officers were able to address both regulations when visiting remote communities and to maintain/improve relationships while building upon networks with communities and influencers (such as Tribal Council, First Nations technical associations, Indigenous Services Canada and Circuit Riders).

6.3 Enforcement priorities

Each year, ECCC develops an Integrated Enforcement Plan (IEP) that sets out the enforcement activities to be carried out in that fiscal year, including activities to address non-compliance with CEPA. Factors that influence the identification of priority activities include the risk to the environment and human health represented by the regulated substance or activity, governmental and departmental priorities, suspected non-compliance, recent publication of new and amended regulations, and domestic and international commitments and obligations.

In 2019-2020, the IEP prioritized the following CEPA instruments:

In addition to the planned inspections carried out under the IEP, enforcement activities also include a large number of inspections resulting from responses to complaints, notifications from partners, intelligence or departmental referrals, reported spills and incidents, or other information.

ECCC initiated a series of risk assessment in 2018-2019 to assess and determine the risk of non‑compliance with its laws and regulations - including those under CEPA. In 2019-2020, a risk assessment on toxic substances was completed and the results were used to inform 2020-2021 planning. Additional risk assessments are currently ongoing and will inform decision-making processes and help to better align enforcement actions and resources to protect the environment and human health.

6.4 Enforcement activities

Enforcement activities undertaken between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020 are summarized in the following 4 tables:

6.4.1 Inspections

Inspections are defined as the active process of gathering information to verify compliance with legislation. This may include site visits, examining substances, products or containers, taking samples, and reviewing records. An on-site inspection involves visiting a site, such as a border crossing, an airport or a port of entry, to conduct any activity, operation, or analysis required to verify the regulatee’s compliance with a regulation. An off-site inspection is normally undertaken at the officer’s place of work or in another location that is not at the regulated site and is usually limited to documentation verification.

Table 22 details the 1474 inspections under CEPA for fiscal year 2019-2020. The number of inspections relates to the number of times the regulation was inspected for compliance using the start date of the inspection for the reference period.

Table 22. number of inspections under CEPA from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020
Instrument Inspections*
On-site
Inspections*
Off-site
Inspections*
Total
Total 1096 378 1474
2-Butoxyethanol Regulations 13 - 13
Benzene in Gasoline Regulations 5 - 5
CEPA - Section(s) 26 39 65
Chromium Electroplating, Chromium Anodizing and Reverse Etching Regulations 9 3 12
Concentration of Phosphorus in Certain Cleaning Products Regulations 6 - 6
Disposal at Sea Regulations 35 30 65
Environmental Emergency Regulations 108 35 143
Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations 2 - 2
Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations 170 8 178
Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 46 69 115
Fuels Information Regulations, No. 1 5 2 7
Gasoline and Gasoline Blend Dispensing Flow Rate Regulations 23 - 23
Interprovincial Movement of Hazardous Waste Regulations 4 1 5
Marine Spark-Ignition Engine, Vessel and Off-Road Recreational Vehicle Emission Regulations 3 1 4
Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations - 2 2
Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations 7 - 7
National Pollutant Release Inventory 4 7 11
New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) 1 2 3
Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations 71 5 76
Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations 10 - 10
On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations 4 - 4
Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations 28 3 31
Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations 2 - 2
PCB Regulations 141 12 153
Products Containing Mercury Regulations 6 - 6
Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations 2 - 2
Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 7 - 7
Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations - 6 6
Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations 2 12 14
Renewable Fuels Regulations 24 1 25
Solvent Degreasing Regulations 3 1 4
Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations 153 30 183
Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations 11 1 12
Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations 6 - 6
Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations 70 107 177
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Regulations 76 1 77
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations 13 - 13

* Only those regulations under which an inspection occurred during the time period are listed in this table.

6.4.2 Investigations

An investigation involves gathering, from a variety of sources, evidence and information relevant to a suspected violation. An enforcement officer will conduct an investigation when he or she has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed under the Act and it has been determined that a prosecution is the appropriate enforcement action.

Table 23 describes the number of investigations under CEPA for fiscal year 2019-2020.

Table 23: breakdown of investigations from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020
Instrument** Investigations*
Started before 2019-2020 and still ongoing at the end of 2019-2020
Investigations*
Started in FY 2019-2020
Investigations*
Ended in FY 2019-2020
Total 43 17 19
2-Butoxyethanol Regulations - 1 -
CEPA - Section(s) 12 5 8
Disposal at Sea Regulations 4 1 -
Environmental Emergency Regulations 2 - 1
Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations - - 1
Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 1 1 -
Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations 1 3 2
Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations 1 - -
On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations 2 - -
PCB Regulations 11 1 2
PCB Waste Export Regulations, 1996 - - 1
Renewable Fuels Regulations - 1 -
Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations - - 1
Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations 5 - 3
Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations 3 - -
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Regulations - 1 -
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations 1 3 -

* Investigations are tabulated by the number of investigation files at the regulation level, based on the start or end date of the investigation. An investigation may be counted under 1 or more regulations.
** Only those regulations under which an investigation occurred during the time period are listed in this table.


6.4.3 Enforcement measures

Enforcement measures available to address alleged violations of CEPA and its regulations include warnings to bring an alleged violation to the attention of an alleged offender, and if applicable, return to compliance. In addition, environmental protection compliance orders (EPCOs) require action to be taken to stop an ongoing violation from continuing, or to prevent a violation from occurring, and administrative monetary penalties (AMP) provide a financial disincentive to non compliance.

Table 24 sets out the number of written warnings, EPCOs, and AMPs issued under CEPA during fiscal year 2019-2020.

Table 24: number of enforcement measures taken from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020
Instrument Enforcement measures*
from inspections and investigations
Written warnings**
Enforcement measures*
from inspections and investigations
Number of subjects involved in EPCOs***
Enforcement measures*
from inspections and investigations
EPCOs**
Enforcement measures*
from inspections and investigations
AMPs**
Total 216 31 25 213
2-Butoxyethanol Regulations 3 3 3 -
Benzene in Gasoline Regulations 2 - - -
CEPA - Section(s) 13 1 1 73
Chromium Electroplating, Chromium Anodizing and Reverse Etching Regulations 4 - - -
Environmental Emergency Regulations 39 3 1 -
Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations 1 - - -
Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations 18 - - 34
Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 9 - - 2
Fuels Information Regulations, No. 1 3 - - -
Gasoline and Gasoline Blend Dispensing Flow Rate Regulations 5 1 1 -
Gasoline Regulations 1 - - -
Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations 1 - - -
National Pollutant Release Inventory 6 - - -
Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations 12 1 1 54
Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations 1 - - -
Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations 3 - - -
PCB Regulations 14 9 6 -
Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 3 2 1 -
Products Containing Mercury Regulations 4 1 1 -
Renewable Fuels Regulations 5 - - 6
Solvent Degreasing Regulations 1 - - -
Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations 35 4 4 42
Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations 4 - - 2
Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations 2 - - -
Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations 13 1 1 -
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Regulations 11 2 2 -
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations 3 3 3 -

* Enforcement measures that were issued between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020. Therefore, it is possible that the initial inspection was conducted in a different fiscal year than when the measure was issued.
** Written warnings, EPCOs, and AMPs are tabulated by number of measures issued at the regulation level. For example, if 1 warning was issued for 2 different regulations, the number of warnings would be 2.
*** The number of subjects involved in EPCOs is represented by the number of regulatees issued EPCOs, regardless of the number of sections. For example, if 1 regulatee was issued an EPCO for 3 sections of the PCB Regulations, the number of subjects involved is 1.


6.5 Prosecutions, tickets and environmental protection alternative measures (EPAMs)

Enforcement measures also include tickets, prosecutions and EPAMs.

For reporting purposes, prosecutions are all instances in which charges were laid against a person (individual, corporation, or government department). The decision to prosecute ultimately rests with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of Canada or their delegated agent. While reviewing the data, it should be noted that prosecutions often continue through multiple fiscal years, so there may be more counts tabulated during a particular year than actual charges laid.

Tickets for offences under CEPA can be issued under the Contraventions Act, usually where there is minimal or no threat to the environment or human health. Where an offence has taken place and this offence is designated as ticketable, enforcement officers will issue a ticket, unless they have determined that, in accordance with the criteria of the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for CEPA, another enforcement measure is the appropriate response.

An EPAM is an agreement that is negotiated with the accused in order to return an alleged violator to compliance with CEPA. It can be used only after a charge has been laid and before the matter goes to trial, as an alternative measure to prosecution for an alleged violation of the Act.

Table 25 outlines the number of prosecutions and tickets under CEPA for fiscal year 2019-2020. No EPAMs were issued in 2019-2020.

Table 25: number of prosecutions and tickets from April 1, 2019 March 31, 2020
Instrument Prosecutions
Charges laid in FY 2018-2019
Prosecuted subjects*
Prosecutions
Charges laid in FY 2018-2019
Counts**
Prosecutions
Concluded in FY 2018-2019
Convicted subjects***
Prosecutions
Concluded in FY 2018-2019
Guilty counts**
Tickets
Canadian Environment Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) - Total 33 235 5 70 3
CEPA - Section(s) 16 69 5 6 -
Chromium Electroplating, Chromium Anodizing and Reverse Etching Regulations 2 6 0 0 1
Environmental Emergency Regulations 3 15 1 1 -
On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations 1 58 1 58 -
Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations - - - - 1
PCB Regulations 13 59 0 0 -
Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations 2 18 0 0 -
Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations 2 10 1 3 1
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations 0 0 1 2 -

* Prosecuted subjects are the number of subjects charged, where the charge date falls within the reporting period. This means that the number of prosecutions launched is counted, not the number of prosecutions concluded in the reporting year. As well, prosecuted subjects are counted by the number of parties charged. This means that if 1 case resulted in the prosecution of 2 different subjects, the number reported would be 2. The number of prosecuted subjects does not necessarily correspond to the total at the legislative level, because 1 prosecution might be related to more than 1 instrument.

** Counts are the number of sections of legislation or regulations, for which there was a charge or conviction during the reporting period. For example, if 1 person is charged with 2 counts under CEPA, this is considered 1 charge laid against the subject and 2 counts.

*** Convicted subjects are the number of subjects convicted during the reporting period and are based on date sentenced.


6.6 Enforcement highlights

In 2019-2020, 5 subjects were convicted and sentenced for offences related to CEPA and its regulations and $197,411,000 in fines was directed to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF).

The EDF is a specified purpose account, administered by ECCC, to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment.

Below are highlights of prosecutions that occurred under CEPA and its regulations in 2019-2020.

On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations

On January 22, 2020, in the Ontario Court of Justice, Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (Volkswagen AG) was ordered to pay an unprecedented $196.5 million fine after pleading guilty to 60 charges for offences under the Act. Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty to 58 counts of contravening section 154 of CEPA and to 2 counts of providing misleading information, an offence under paragraph 272(1)(k) of the Act. The fine was directed to the EDF.

The investigation into a suspected violation of the federal On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations revealed that between January 2008 and December 2015, the company imported into Canada nearly 128 000 2- and 3-litre diesel engine Volkswagen and Audi vehicles equipped with defeat devices. It also revealed that the use of software to reduce the effectiveness of the emission control systems involved significant deception and showed that the company knowingly circumvented national vehicle emissions regulations.

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations

On October 11, 2019, in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, Les Entrepôts A.B. inc., a Terrebonne-based company, was fined a total of $564,000 after pleading guilty to 3 counts of contravening CEPA and the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations. The total fines were directed to the EDF.

The investigation revealed that the company had imported, offered for sale, and sold automotive refinishing products that contained volatile organic compounds in excess of the allowable limit. The company also failed to comply with an EPCO issued by an enforcement officer. As a result, the company received 2 fines of $125,000 for importing and selling the products, respectively, totaling $250,000, and a fine of $150,000 for failing to comply with an EPCO. In addition to the fines on the 3 counts, the company received an additional $164,000 fine for financial gains. This amount represents the profits generated by the sale of non-compliant automotive refinishing products.

Environmental Emergency Regulations

On November 12, 2019, K-G Spray-Pak Inc. was ordered to pay a fine of $170,000 in the Ontario Court of Justice. The company pleaded guilty to 2 offences under CEPA, including 1 count of violating the Environmental Emergency Regulations and 1 count of failing to comply with an EPCO. The total fine was directed to the EDF.

In February 2017, an investigation was launched, which revealed that K-G Spray-Pak Inc., a manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of aerosol products, had failed to comply with an EPCO issued by ECCC, in July 2016. The company was subsequently charged when it failed to implement and test environmental emergency plans within the prescribed time limit specified in the compliance order.

Environmental Offenders Registry and Enforcement Notifications

The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations obtained under certain federal environmental laws including CEPA, since June 18, 2009. This tool allows the media and the public to search for corporate convictions using the name of the corporation, its home province, the province where the offence occurred, or the legislation under which the conviction was obtained.

The Enforcement Notifications contain information about successful prosecutions across Canada under the acts and regulations administered by ECCC or involving ECCC enforcement officers (including CEPA).

6.7 International enforcement cooperation

Enforcement-related activities are carried out under various international and domestic agreements and organizations. ECCC actively participates in INTERPOL’s Pollution Crime Working Group, which brings together member countries to work collectively on pollution crime issues.

In 2019, ECCC participated in INTERPOL’s Operation 30 Days at Sea, the first-ever global action aimed at combatting maritime pollution crime. During the Operation, ECCC conducted numerous vessel inspections and worked closely with Transport Canada, as well as the United States Coast Guard and the United States Department of Justice. The joint Canadian efforts were also supported by Canada’s Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

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