Regulation - LGIC

Expanding administrative penalties for environmental contraventions

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Environmental Protection Act
Summary of Proposal:
We are proposing five regulations (one under each act below) so that administrative penalties can be issued for environmental contraventions:
• Environmental Protection Act
• Nutrient Management Act, 2002
• Ontario Water Resources Act
• Pesticides Act
• Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002

The proposed regulations have been presented in a plain language format to make the content more accessible for stakeholders and the public. The plain language format includes all the components of the technical regulations, as well as general guidance on how the components work together. The proposed regulations have been combined into one (1) document due to similarities between the regulations.

The proposed penalty regulations under the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act would revoke and replace existing penalty regulations under these acts.

We are also proposing to develop an administrative penalty guidance document to provide more clarity and consistency on applying the administrative penalty framework.

A ministry Director or provincial officer may issue an administrative penalty as guided by the compliance policy.

The proposed regulations and guidance document will provide information about:
• the circumstances when a provincial officer can issue an administrative penalty
• the process and rules for determining a penalty, including how the gravity component of a penalty (to reflect the seriousness of the contravention) and the economic benefit component (to remove any economic gain from non-compliance) would be determined
• the circumstances when a person who pays a penalty cannot be prosecuted for the same contravention
• penalty amounts for corporations and individuals who commit a contravention
• circumstances when an employee, Director, officer or agent of a corporation may be issued a penalty where the contravention is committed by the corporation
• the process for issuing an administrative penalty order, including the requirement to issue a notice of intention and the circumstances where such a notice is not required before issuing an administrative penalty order advanced notice (notice of intention)
• payment procedures

You can read more information about the processes for issuing administrative penalty orders, the broad range of environmental contraventions that will be subject to penalties and how penalties will be determined for a contravention in the Consultation Guide on proposed regulations for the expansion of Administrative penalties, attached to the Supporting Materials section of this notice.

The new administrative penalty framework:
• provides a single consistent approach to administrative penalties across the ministry's compliance and enforcement activities and incorporates feedback from engagement sessions

Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
A key commitment is to hold polluters accountable with tougher penalties. Our objective for developing administrative penalties is to deter illegal behaviour (e.g. spills to land or waterways, exceeding discharging limits for pollutants to the air or waterways, failing to obtain a permit or approval as required), improve environmental outcomes, and hold polluters accountable in a cost-effective manner, so there is less burden on the courts and taxpayers. The broader use of administrative penalties will also help level the playing field between violators and those acting responsibly and allow the ministry to take strong action against illegal activity, especially for repeat offenders.
Penalties will not impose any new regulatory burden or costs on businesses, municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals, and non-profit organizations who follow the province's environmental laws.

Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
January 27, 2022
Comments Due Date:
March 28, 2022
Proposal Status:
On March 11, 2022, we extended the comment period for this proposal notice for another 15 days (to March 28, 2022) based on feedback and requests received by the ministry. We updated the notice on March 10, 2022 to make changes to the two documents- "Classification of Contraventions for Administrative Penalties" and the "Consultation Guide on Proposed Regulations for the Expansion of Administrative Penalties" attached in the supporting materials section. Please look at the 'Update details' section below which highlights the changes made to the documents. The content of the original proposal has not changed.