Holding polluters accountable by expanding the use of administrative monetary penalties for environmental contraventions

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Summary of Decision:
The changes will introduce, expand and/or clarify the government's authority to issue penalties for environmental contraventions under key environmental statutes, including:
• Nutrient Management Act, 2002
• Ontario Water Resources Act
• Pesticides Act
• Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002
These changes will:
• address gaps in the ministry's compliance and enforcement toolkit, and enable us to expand the use of administrative monetary penalties that could be issued for environmental contraventions, if and when they occur
• provide us with one consistent approach to administrative monetary penalties across statutes, including the Environmental Protection Act as recently amended under Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choices Act, 2019)
• better protect our communities, and keep our air, land and water clean and healthy.

To ensure a seamless transition from the existing administrative monetary penalties (i.e. environmental penalties) to the new framework, changes to the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act will be proclaimed at a later date when regulations are proposed and finalized.

We expect consultation and stakeholder engagement on a proposal to implement administrative monetary penalties, including draft regulations, to occur in 2020.

The funding program modeled on the Ontario Community Environment Fund program will be launched in 2020 and will better support activities that implement the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan (e.g. litter clean up, tree planting, habitat restoration, and flood prevention).
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
October 28, 2019
Summary of Proposal:
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks needs changes to its compliance and enforcement toolkit to strengthen enforcement and compliance with laws that protect our:
• air
• drinking water
• water resources
• land
We are proposing legislative amendments to introduce, expand and/or clarify enabling authority to issue administrative monetary penalties for environmental violations under key environmental statutes, including:
• Nutrient Management Act, 2002
• Ontario Water Resources Act
• Pesticides Act
• Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002
The proposed amendments would enable administrative monetary penalties to be issued for a broad range of environmental violations under the acts mentioned above. To take effect, violations that may be subject to an administrative monetary penalty would be prescribed in regulation.
The proposal, along with recent amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, would replace existing monetary penalties (i.e. environmental penalties) under the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Water Resources Act.
Key provisions under the proposed administrative monetary penalty approach are set out under each act and include:
• set maximum penalty amounts or higher if the economic benefit achieved via the violation was higher (penalty amounts would be set by a regulation). The maximum penalty amounts set in the acts are as follows:
o Ontario Water Resources Act - $200,000 per contravention
o Pesticides Act - $100,000 per contravention
o Safe Drinking Water Act - $100,000 per contravention
o Nutrient Management Act - $10,000 per contravention
• ability to review and/or appeal the administrative penalty
• an annual report listing the administrative penalties issued in the last calendar year
• provisions to enable the implementation of administrative monetary penalties in regulation
The broader use of administrative monetary penalties would help us:
• take strong action against illegal activity
• ensure that polluters are accountable for their actions with a system that is tough but fair, cost-effective and flexible to the needs and circumstances of our province
• deal with environmental violations that do occur, more efficiently and appropriately
The proposed amendments, if enacted, would not impose any new regulatory burden or costs on Ontarians who follow the province's environmental laws.
The intended outcomes of the proposal include:
• leveling the playing field between those acting responsibly and violators by removing potential economic benefits associated with breaking Ontario's environmental laws
• increasing overall compliance with Ontario's environmental laws
• reducing illegal activity that may pose environmental or health risks to Ontarians
As part of the proposal, funds collected from the payment of administrative monetary penalties under the Environmental Protection Act, the Nutrient Management Act, 2002, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Pesticides Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 would be directed to an existing dedicated account under the Environmental Protection Act that currently collects funds from environmental penalty violations.
If implemented, the proposal would revise the account to allow the funds to be used for activities that implement the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan (e.g. clean up, tree planting).
Contact Address:
Compliance, Planning & Spills Action Centre
135 St. Clair Avenue West
8th Floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1P5

Royal Assent Date:
December 10, 2019