On Oct. 31, Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, along with Andrea Khanjin, Parliamentary Assistant, and Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, announced a proposal to expand the use of administrative monetary penalties to a broader range of environmental violations.
The funds collected from these penalties will be reinvested into local environmental projects under a new program, modelled on the Ontario Community Environment Fund, said a news releaes from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. Funds would support community projects, such as restoring habitats of endangered species, tree planting, litter cleanup and other priorities set in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.
"Our government is committed to holding polluters accountable by ensuring strong enforcement with tough but fair penalties for violations," said Minister Yurek. "Expanding administrative monetary penalties will give us a quick and effective tool against polluters so we can better protect the health and safety of our families, communities and the environment."
Ontario's current administrative monetary penalties for environmental violations are limited, leaving the government with few tools to enforce the law. This results in an overreliance on burdensome, costly and time-consuming enforcement tools.
Environmental violations where administrative monetary penalties may be used under the new proposal include illegal sewage discharges into waterways, selling pesticides without a permit, failing to have a certified operator when operating a drinking water system, or violating terms of a permit to take water.
The broader use of administrative monetary penalties would provide the ministry with an effective tool to return violators into compliance with the law quickly and ensure consequences are proportionate to the violation, the ministry said. It would also help level the playing field between responsible businesses and those who violate environmental laws by removing potential economic benefits associated with breaking the law.