Holding polluters accountable by enhancing Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks' enforcement tools

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Environmental Protection Act
Summary of Proposal:
The Environmental Protection Act is the principal pollution control statute in Ontario. It aims to protect and conserve Ontario's natural environment.
Key commitments in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, released for public consultation in November 2018, include:
• holding polluters accountable by strengthening enforcement tools to comply with environmental laws
• holding those who do not follow those laws responsible
We are proposing to address excess soil management in Ontario. This includes proposed amendments to the Environmental Protection Act. If passed, these changes would strengthen enforcement tools available to front-line provincial officers in order to better ensure clean air, clean water and clean land for Ontario families.
The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks has identified gaps in its compliance and enforcement toolkit, affecting its ability to effectively hold polluters accountable.
These new enforcement tools will help level the playing field between those acting responsibly and violators by removing potential economic benefits associated with breaking Ontario's environmental laws. This will also allow the ministry to take strong action against those who violate environmental laws, such as haulers that dump excess or contaminated soil illegally.
The proposed amendments, if enacted, would not impose any new regulatory burden or costs on Ontarians who follow the province's environmental laws.
The proposed amendments to the Environmental Protection Act would:
1. Enable administrative penalties for a broad range of environmental violations under the act. To take effect, violations that may be subject to an administrative penalty would need to be prescribed in regulations
Provisions under the administrative penalties scheme include:
• a $200,000 maximum administrative penalty per contravention, or higher if the economic benefit achieved via the violation was higher (penalty amounts would be set by a regulation)
• ability to review and/or appeal the administrative penalty
• an annual report listing the administrative penalties issued in the last year
• provisions to enable the implementation of administrative penalties in regulation (e.g. how to set administrative penalty amounts, who they can apply to, and how violators can seek reductions in penalty amounts for taking action to prevent or mitigate the contravention)
2. Permit and modernize the process to seize vehicle plates when serious environmental violations occur that put at risk the province's clean air, clean water or clean land. This includes:
• a process to seize and dispose of plates from Ontario vehicles and out-of-province vehicles
• requiring that notice of the seizure be provided to the driver of the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle, and the Registrar (Ministry of Transportation)
• ensuring no new plates or permits are issued to the permit holder of the vehicle by the Registrar until a further notice is provided that the matter has been resolved, or until the prescribed prohibition period ends
• If convicted of an offence, allowing for a court order to prevent the violator from obtaining new plates and permits within a specified time period
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
May 1, 2019
Comments Due Date:
May 31, 2019