As reported in our last edition, the Environmental Enforcement Act received Royal Assent on June 18, 2009. The Act amends environmental legislation administered by Environment Canada including: the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999; the Canada Wildlife Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act, the International River Improvements Act, the Canada National Parks Act, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Act.
The statute sets minimum fines for serious environmental offences of between $5,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations. The act also raises maximum fines to as high as $6 million. Enforcement officers are given new investigative powers and courts are given sentencing guidance so that environmental damages, prior convictions and other relevant factors are taken into account and treated as aggravating factors. Administrative penalties may be imposed to address less serious environmental offences. For more information see: http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=714D9AAE-1&news=2ADA2898-0852-46C6-97CF-C27DF9FF8D00.