Canadian Environmental Protection Act

What we examined

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) is Canada’s principal federal environmental statut

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e. It is intended to protect the environment and

human health by mitigating and managing risks posed by harmful substances. CEPA 1999 and its regulations govern a variety of environmental matters, including toxic substances, cross-border air and water pollution, and waste disposal. The Act also imposes requirements for pollution prevention planning and emergency plans, and it regulates the inter-provincial and international movement of hazardous wastes and recyclable materials.

Environment Canada’s enforcement program is aimed at ensuring that individuals, companies, and government agencies comply with the pollution prevention and conservation goals of environmental and wildlife protection Acts and regulations, including CEPA 1999. The enforcement of CEPA 1999 is carried out by the Department’s Environmental Enforcement Directorate, comprising a national office and five regional offices across Canada whose activities include monitoring and enforcing regulatory compliance.

We examined whether Environment Canada’s enforcement program was well managed to adequately enforce compliance with CEPA 1999. We assessed whether the Department has applied a risk-based approach to plan its enforcement activities and target the greatest threats to human health and the environment; enforced the law in a fair, predictable, and consistent way, as the Act requires; measured the results of its enforcement activities; and acted on identified opportunities for improvement.

Audit work for this chapter was completed on 11 October 2011.

Why it’s important

CEPA 1999 states that the protection of the environment is essential to the well-being of Canadians and that the primary purpose of the Act is to contribute to sustainable development through pollution prevention. According to Environment Canada, environmental laws alone are not enough to guarantee a cleaner, better environment. These laws also need to be enforced. Enforcing CEPA 1999 is therefore an important part of protecting the health of Canadians, biodiversity, and the quality of Canada’s air, soil, and water. According to Environment Canada, enforcement of the law can encourage behavioral changes needed to protect the environment and human health by preventing and managing risks posed by toxic and other harmful substances.

The law is a very important one in keeping the peace within the Ontario government in regards to environmental issues and should be regarded when building any new type of structure as it will in some form impact the area around it. If you’d like to read more on the Law, click on the image above.

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