About the Environmental Enforcement Act
The Environmental Enforcement Act (EEA) strengthened and harmonized enforcement regimes in the following nine acts:
- the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act (AEPA);
- the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act (CNMCAA);
- the Canada National Parks Act (CNPA);
- the Canada Wildlife Act (CWA);
- the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA);
- the International River Improvements Act (IRIA);
- the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA);
- the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Act (SSLMPA); and
- the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA).
The EEA enhanced the fine regime under each act, adding tailored ranges of fines for different categories of offenders and introducing minimum fines and higher maximum fines for serious offences. In addition, the EEA introduced a common, strong set of sentencing principles and enhanced the toolkit available to enforcement officers, including expanded use of compliance orders and a new public registry of corporate offenders.
The EEA also established a new enforcement tool -administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) - through the enactment of the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act (EVAMPA). AMPs are penalties designed to create a financial disincentive to non-compliance with designated legislative requirements and are an administrative alternative to other enforcement measures which may not be effective or available in all situations.
Coming into force
The implementation of the EEA has taken place in stages.
Stage one: December 10, 2010
- The bulk of the EEA came into force.
- EVAMPA was brought into force (but regulations under EVAMPA were required before AMPs could be available as an enforcement measure to respond to violations). (For further details please refer to the EVAMPA webpage.)
Stage two: June 22, 2012
- The amendments related to the fine regime and sentencing provisions for CEPA came into force.
- The Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999) came into force, designating provisions of regulations under CEPA which, if contravened and following a conviction, subject an offender to minimum fines and higher maximum fines. (For further details please refer to the CEPA Environmental Registry).
- On June 2, 2017, the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (AMPs Regulations) under EVAMPA came into force, enabling the use of AMPs for designated violations of specified acts and regulations administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
- The final “Policy Framework of the Administrative Monetary Penalty System at Environment and Climate Change Canada to Implement the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act” (Policy Framework Document for AMPs) was released. It provides an overview of the operational aspects of the AMPs regime. (For further details on the AMPs Regulations and the Policy Framework Document for AMPs, please refer to the EVAMPA webpage.)
- The remaining amendments related to the fine regime and sentencing provisions for the CWA, MBCA and WAPPRIITA came into force.
- The Designation of Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Canada Wildlife Act) Regulations and the Designation of Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994) Regulations came into force. These regulations designate provisions of regulations under the CWA and the MBCA which, if contravened and following a conviction, subject an offender to minimum fines and higher maximum fines.
- December 10, 2020 marked the beginning of a mandatory review of the fines and sentencing provisions of these nine Acts enforced by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Parks Canada. Part 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act will also be included this review. The purpose of the review is to determine whether Canada’s environmental fines and sentencing principles support goals such as deterring and denouncing wrongful conduct and reinforcing the polluter pays principle.
- Under each of these 10 laws, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada is required to begin the first 10-year review by December 10, 2020 and to table a review report in both Houses of Parliament by December 10, 2021.
- The review process will include gathering input from stakeholders, indigenous partners and the public.
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