Through various stakeholder engagement sessions the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) is proposing to expand administrative penalties to a broader range of environmental violations, which includes contraventions under the following five regulations Environmental Protection Act, Nutrient Management Act, 2002, Ontario Water Resources Act, Pesticides Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 (personal communication, February 22, 2022).
From the Stakeholder consultation thus far, there is general support for expanding the administrative penalties to include more contraventions and to the entire regulated community. The area that stakeholders raised concern relates to when the administrative penalty scheme would be used (e.g., as guided by the Compliance Policy). As such the consultation presentation facilitated by the MECP (2022) indicates that the Compliance Policy provides direction on how and when compliance and enforcement tools (voluntary compliance or mandatory compliance tools, see Figure 1) will be used. Lastly, as part of the Compliance Policy tools, Provincial Officers will use the “Informed Judgment Matrix (IJM), see Figure 2 to assess and recommend the appropriate level of compliance tool (personal communication, February 22, 2022).
Examples of Voluntary to Mandatory Compliance Tools (Personal Communication, February 22, 2022)
Updated Informed Judgment Matrix (Personal Communication, February 22, 2022)
It is important to know that the expansion of the environmental penalty program does not mean that the MECP will automatically apply penalties to all contraventions or that all prosecutions will be replaced (Personal Communication, February 22, 2022). More serious offences and repeat offenders will continue to be prosecuted. Most non-compliance issues are corrected using “voluntary compliance tools”, see Figure 1 (Personal Communication, February 22, 2022).
The key objectives of the Proposed policy is for the MECP to take a more consistent approach using the Compliance Policy that aims to be transparent on how penalties are being calculated; providing advanced notice that a penalty will be issued; expansion of the program to cover most contraventions; who/when Provincial Offices and/or the Director can issue penalties, and lastly, that the ministry maintains the ability to prosecute for the same offence, even if a penalty is paid (Personal Communication, February 22, 2022).
In summary, the proposed expansion of the administrative penaltie program has some consequential considerations for our member facilities. If members have comments, concerns, etc, about the MECP proposal to expand the administrative penalties program, they can access the EBR posting here and/or by reaching out to Stephanie McCallum, CASF Regulatory Liaison at [email protected]. Comments on this proposal are due on/by March 13, 2022).
Stephanie McCallum, M.Sc., CRSP
Regulatory Liaison, CASF