Environmental Prosecutions

Environmental laws seeking to prevent pollution and protect resources place a very strict and heavy onus on both individuals and businesses to comply with certain standards. Violations for these regulatory types of charges can result in very hefty fines and occasionally, jail time upon conviction.


What are Environmental Prosecutions?

Environmental Prosecutions Lawyer in Toronto Ontario

Environmental regulations are a quickly evolving, complex, and progressively stringent area of the law. The new demands of environmental responsibility have critical implications for both individuals and business owners.

Under Canada’s constitution, responsibility for the protection of the environment is divided between the federal and provincial governments. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act is the foundation of legislation in this area. Laws seek to prevent pollution and preserve and protect air, land and water.

In Ontario, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change staff work to prevent pollution, restore and protect the environment, and enhance public health, environmental quality and economic vitality in Ontario.

The federal government and the provinces and territories share the enforcement of environmental regulations. With the continued rise of public awareness about environmental responsibility, smaller municipalities are also taking on larger roles in environmental law enforcement.

Enforcement, penalties and prosecution related to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) range from warnings about the existence of violations to tickets, orders, injunctions and fines.

Historically, fines under the Environmental Enforcement Act (EEA) range from $5,000 to $6,000,000. Offences can also result in arrest without warrant, or the seizing or detainment of evidence associated with an offence. Convictions or indictments under the CEPA can result in imprisonment up to three years.

Caramanna Friedberg LLP can assist you in understanding environmental regulations pertaining to your business. We will collaborate with you to ensure your operations are compliant and protected. We can also help resolve investigations before they become prosecutions. In the event that you or your business is charged, we provide comprehensive advice and passionate representation.

Due to the rapidly expanding terrain of environmental regulations, the need for expert legal advice and defence is more critical than ever. Contact Caramanna Friedberg LLP for strategic management counsel and representation for environmental prosecutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Enforcement Branch was created to ensure organizations comply with various federal legislation in relation to the environment and wildlife. Members of the RCMP, fishery officers, parks officers, customs officers and conservation officers of provincial and territorial governments may also be appointed as enforcement officers.

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Environmental regulations are a quickly evolving, complex, and progressively stringent area of the law. The new demands of environmental responsibility have critical implications for both individuals and business owners.

Under Canada's constitution, responsibility for the protection of the environment is divided between the federal and provincial governments. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act is the foundation of legislation in this area. Laws seek to prevent pollution and preserve and protect air, land and water.

In Ontario, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change staff work to prevent pollution, restore and protect the environment, and enhance public health, environmental quality and economic vitality in Ontario.

The federal government and the provinces and territories share the enforcement of environmental regulations. With the continued rise of public awareness about environmental responsibility, smaller municipalities are also taking on larger roles in environmental law enforcement.

View More

According to the Environmental Protection Act, they aim to support and promote the management, protection, enhancement and wise use of the environment, while recognizing the following:

  • Preventing, mitigating and remediating environmental impacts is important in making decisions and taking actions.
  • Where there are threats of serious or irreparable harm to the ecological integrity, lack of complete certainty is not to be a reason for postponing reasonable environmental protection measures.
  • All persons are responsible, financially and otherwise, for impacts on the environment as a result of their actions or inaction.
  • Administrative, management and regulatory processes need to be adaptive, responsive, fair, effective and timely.
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A corporation may rely on the defence of due diligence. In order to establish this defence, the corporation must demonstrate that they took all reasonable steps in the circumstances to prevent the offence from occurring. Due diligence can also be a mitigating factor on sentencing.

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Enforcement, penalties and prosecution related to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) range from warnings about the existence of violations to tickets, orders, injunctions and fines.

Historically, fines under the Environmental Enforcement Act (EEA) range from $5,000 to $6,000,000. Offences can also result in arrest without warrant, or the seizing or detainment of evidence associated with an offence. Convictions or indictments under the CEPA can result in imprisonment up to three years.

View More

The Enforcement Branch of the Canadian government is responsible for ensuring organizations respect and comply with various federal statues that deal with environmental law, including:

  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act
  • Fisheries Act;
  • Hazardous Products Act
  • Migratory Birds Convention Act,
  • Canada Wildlife Act,
  • Species at Risk Act;
  • The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act; and
  • Canada National Park Act.

Enforcement officers are appointed under section 217(3) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and fall into two categories: Environmental Enforcement and Wildlife Enforcement.

Members of the RCMP, fishery officers, parks officers, customs officers and conservation officers of provincial and territorial governments may also be appointed as enforcement officers.

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Examples of environmental crimes include:

  • releasing emissions or illegal contaminants into the air;
  • breaching regulations with regards to the disposal of toxic waste;
  • failing to report and/or clean up spills; and
  • failing to submit required reports
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