Guide to understanding the Canadian Environmental Protection Act: chapter 14

14. Enforcement

14.1 What are the principles of enforcement?

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) provides the authority to carry out inspections and investigations to ensure that regulations made under the act and the act itself are followed. Enforcement of CEPA 1999 follows the Compliance and Enforcement Policy established for the act, which includes the following guiding principles:

14.2 What powers do enforcement officers have?

CEPA 1999 provides the authority to designate persons or classes of persons as enforcement officers. Enforcement officers have a wide range of powers to enforce the act, including all the powers of a peace officer. Powers include the right to:

14.3 What powers do CEPA analysts have?

CEPA 1999 also allows for the designation of individuals as CEPA analysts, who will support the enforcement function. CEPA analysts can be chemists, biologists, engineers, forensic accountants or laboratory personnel. They are entitled to accompany enforcement officers on inspections and they have the power to enter premises, open receptacles, take samples, conduct tests and measurements, and require that documents and data be provided to them. These powers can only be exercised when accompanied by an enforcement officer. Analysts do not have the power to use enforcement tools.

14.4 What are CEPA 1999's enforcement tools?

CEPA 1999 enforcement officers have the following enforcement tools at their disposal:

14.5 What are CEPA 1999's penalties for violations?

The maximum penalties include fines of up to $1 million a day for each day an offence continues, imprisonment for up to three years or both. The act includes mandatory sentencing criteria for consideration by the courts such as the cost to remedy the damage done to the environment. Violators may also have to pay for clean-up costs or forfeit any profits earned as a result of an offence. Corporate officials can be prosecuted if they authorize, accept or participate in any violation of CEPA 1999 or its regulations.

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