On March 25, 2009, Bill C-16, the Environmental Enforcement Act, underwent second reading in Parliament. If enacted, the bill would amend nine existing statutes (collectively, the Acts) that are administered by Environment Canada and the Parks Canada Agency. The Acts include the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999; the Canada Wildlife Act; and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. Among its most significant features, Bill C-16 would amend the Acts to establish minimum fines for certain serious offences; increase certain maximum fines; and specify aggravating factors to be considered in sentencing decisions, including whether the convicted party gained or benefited from committing an offence. Bill C-16 would further amend the Acts by requiring courts to order corporate offenders to disclose details of convictions to their shareholders and by establishing administrative penalties for certain less serious environmental offences that, according to the government, are often not pursued because of the complexity and high cost of prosecution.
Bill C-16 would also add to each of the Acts a requirement that all fines collected be credited to the Environmental Damages Fund and be available for environmental projects or the administration of that fund.
For further information about these and other aspects of Bill C-16, please see www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=714D9AAE-1&news=FF3737AB-7757-4C49- A477-C8FD21750872.