The Canadian Environmental Protection Act

To be a good leader is to be a good follower. That saying could also work for law makers and enforcers. In order to achieve the goals of the environmental act, enforcers of the policies should be working well. With regard to this, there is an essential point to know who should be the first one to be familiar with and practicing the new Act and other regulations. The Compliance and Enforcement Policy for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act lays down the principles for the enforcement of the Act.

The policy was built up in cooperation with the Department of Justice. Moreover, it also directs everyone who has responsibility of protection and conservation of the environment — governments, industry, organizations, and even individuals — as to the expectations from them. It also offers information on what to look forward to from the officers that will be enforcing CEPA and its regulations. (Klachkov, 2005)

There are many authorities responsible for the enforcement of Canadian Environmental Protection Act. These include the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Health, the Attorney General of Canada, officials of the Department of the Attorney General together with the Crown prosecutors, the Courts, enforcement officers, review officers, and analysts. The main actors in day-to-day activities of enforcement are the Attorney General, Crown prosecutors and the latter three.

Enforcement officers are responsible for carrying out inspections to verify compliance with the law, directing corrective measures in areas of danger to the environment, stopping and moving conveyances like cars and trucks for inspection, and conducting investigations of alleged violations. They also have the power to search, confiscate, and detain item connected with the CEPA enforcement, to require copies and production of data and documents if necessary, and to give out tickets and orders.

However, their decisions should be founded securely in law and in consistency with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy. Analysts, on the other hand, are any qualified persons in certain areas, like an engineer, a laboratory technician, or a forensic accountant. They are assigned by the Minister to work as an analyst for a certain part of or the entire Act. Analysts are able to use their powers when they are accompanied by an enforcement officer. They can have access to any place and premises to which the Act and other regulations are applied.

They can also open receptacles, take samples, perform tests and measurements, and ask for and have copies of data and documents when needed. The review of an environmental protection compliance order is done by review officers. The Minister of Environment designated them. However, the review is only done when the person subject to the order is applied for it. The Attorney General is the one responsible for the proceeding and legal actions related to CEPA.

Although the enforcement officers give charges to the offenses against the Act, the Attorney General and the officials of his department make the decisions with regards to the proceedings of the prosecution. (Klachkov, 2005) There are also some devices that would aid these certain officials and officers in assessing the environmental condition and reducing offenders of the environment. These are the environmental compliance reports, administrative monetary penalties, and the due diligence.

Environmental compliance reports provide information about the contaminant discharges in air and water. The discharges are then reported to the Ministry of environment since they are the one responsible in informing the public about the state of environment in their communities. They may or may not identify some of these discharges. The ministry will confirm the reports and are prior to posting. Basically, the objective of environmental compliance reports is to keep the public informed about what is happening in their environment. ("Environmental Compliance Reports", 2006)