Issues and possible approaches, Canadian Environmental Protection Act: discussion paper, chapter 10


10. Strengthening the enforcement of CEPA

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)’s Enforcement Branch is responsible for the enforcement of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Enforcement is an essential component of the regulatory-compliance continuum and plays a crucial role in ensuring that regulatory instruments enacted by the Government are implemented fairly, consistently, and predictably.

ECCC’s Enforcement Branch relies on provisions throughout the Act, but mainly on Part 10.

10.1 Provide explicit authorities for illegal imports/exports of substances and living organisms

Issue

If a person imports a substance or living organism in contravention of the Act or its regulations, there are no express authorities for the government to order this person to either return it to its country of export or to manage it in Canada. In addition, if the government takes action itself (if the importer fails to do so), there are no express authorities in CEPA to allow for the recovery of the resulting costs. CEPA is also lacking similar authorities related to the illegal export of a substance or living organism (i.e., authorities to order a person who has exported a substance or living organism in contravention of the Act to bring it back to manage it in Canada and if the exporter fails to do so and the government takes action itself, allow for the recovery of the resulting costs).

Possible Approach to Address the Issue

CEPA could be amended to expressly provide the necessary authorities to ensure that:

  • A person who has exported a substance or living organism in contravention of Parts 5 or 6 or the associated regulations is required to take the substance back and manage it in Canada in accordance with the Act and its regulations;
  • A person who has imported a substance or living organism in contravention of Parts 5 or 6 or the associated regulations is required to either return it to its country of export or manage it in Canada in accordance with the Act and its regulations;
  • The government may recover the costs of conducting the take-back/return/management of the substance or living organism, if the person fails to act.

10.2 Formally provide effective enforcement tools for illegally imported vehicles, engines and equipment

Issue

There is no express authority under CEPA to require the removal from Canada or the return to the country of origin of any vehicle, engine, or equipment that are reasonably believed to have been illegally imported.

Possible Approach to Address the Issue

CEPA could be amended to expressly allow the Minister to order the removal of illegally imported vehicles, engines, machines or equipment.

10.3 Expressly allow refusal and revoking of permits for unpaid fines

Issue

The Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act (EVAMPA) has limited means to recover unpaid penalties. In comparison, the Contraventions Act, a statute also used to enforce regulatory instruments under CEPA, contains provisions to refuse or revoke permits when an offender who is convicted in a proceeding does not pay its fine.

Possible Approach to Address the Issue

EVAMPA could be amended to allow persons responsible for issuing or revoking licenses or permits under environmental acts to which EVAMPA applies to refuse to issue or to revoke permits for unpaid administrative monetary penalties.

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