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Environmental protection act

Potential costs, legal implications and fines

Extracts from the Ontario Environmental Protection Act

Secondary discharge within building
2. A contaminant that is discharged into the air within a building or structure as a result of the discharge of the same or another contaminant in another building or structure shall be deemed to be discharged into the natural environment by the owner or the person who has the charge, management or control of the contaminant discharged in the other building or structure. R.S.O. 1990, c. E.19, s. 2.

Prohibition, contamination generally
6. (1) No person shall discharge into the natural environment any contaminant, and no person responsible for a source of contaminant shall permit the discharge into the natural environment of any contaminant from the source of contaminant, in an amount, concentration or level in excess of that prescribed by the regulations. R.S.O. 1990, c. E.19, s. 6 (1).

“contaminant” means any solid, liquid, gas, odour, heat, sound, vibration, radiation or combination of any of them resulting directly or indirectly from human activities that causes or may cause an adverse effect; (“contaminant”)

“discharge”, when used as a verb, includes add, deposit, leak or emit and, when used as a noun, includes addition, deposit, emission or leak; (“rejet”, “rejeter”)

“adverse effect” means one or more of,
(a) impairment of the quality of the natural environment for any use that can be made of it,
(b) injury or damage to property or to plant or animal life,
(c) harm or material discomfort to any person,
(d) an adverse effect on the health of any person,
(e) impairment of the safety of any person,
(f) rendering any property or plant or animal life unfit for human use,
(g) loss of enjoyment of normal use of property, and
(h) interference with the normal conduct of business; (“conséquence préjudiciable”)

“person responsible” means the owner, or the person in occupation or having the charge, management or control of a source of contaminant; (“personne responsable”)

Penalties
187. (1) Every individual convicted of an offence under section 186, other than an offence described in subsection (3), is liable,
(a) on a first conviction, for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues, to a fine of not more than $50,000; and
(i) for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues, to a fine of not more than $100,000,
(ii) to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or
(iii) to both such fine and imprisonment. 2005, c. 12, s. 1 (57).

Certain offences: individuals
(5) Every individual convicted of an offence described in subsection (3) is liable,
(a) for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues, to a fine of,
(i) not less than $5,000 and not more than $4,000,000 on a first conviction,
(ii) not less than $10,000 and not more than $6,000,000 on a second conviction, and
(iii) not less than $20,000 and not more than $6,000,000 on each subsequent conviction;
(b) to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years less one day; or
(c) to both such fine and imprisonment. 2005, c. 12, s. 1 (57).

Duty of director or officer
194. (1) Every director or officer of a corporation has a duty to take all reasonable care to prevent the corporation from,
(a) discharging or causing or permitting the discharge of a contaminant, in contravention of,
(i) this Act or the regulations, or
(ii) a certificate of approval, provisional certificate of approval, certificate of property use, licence or permit under this Act;
(b) failing to notify the Ministry of a discharge of a contaminant, in contravention of,
(i) this Act or the regulations, or
(ii) a certificate of approval, provisional certificate of approval, certificate of property use, licence or permit under this Act;
(c) contravening section 27, 40 or 41 in respect of hauled liquid industrial waste or hazardous waste as designated in the regulations relating to Part V;
(d) contravening section 93 or 184;
(e) failing to install, maintain, operate, replace or alter any equipment or other thing, in contravention of a certificate of approval, provisional certificate of approval, certificate of property use, licence or permit under this Act; or
(f) contravening an order under this Act, other than an order under section 99.1, 100.1, 150 or 182.1. 2005, c. 12, s. 1 (65).
Contraventions of s. 14
(1.1) Clause (1) (a) does not apply to a contravention of section 14 unless the contravention causes or is likely to cause an adverse effect. 2005, c. 12, s. 1 (65).
Offence
(2) Every person who has a duty under subsection (1) and who fails to carry out that duty is guilty of an offence. R.S.O. 1990, c. E.19, s. 194 (2).
Onus
(2.1) If a director or officer of a corporation is charged with an offence under subsection (2) in connection with a specific contravention of the corporation, the director or officer has the onus, in the trial of the offence, of proving that he or she carried out the duty under subsection (1) in connection with that contravention. 2005, c. 12, s. 1 (66).
Liability to conviction
(3) A director or officer of a corporation is liable to conviction under this section whether or not the corporation has been prosecuted or convicted. R.S.O. 1990, c.E.19, s.194(3).


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