Ontario creates ability to fine non-compliant landfills

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landfill stock image
The new regulation expands enforcement officers’ ability to issue administrative penalties for a broader range of contraventions and provide frontline staff with stronger tools to better enforce Ontario’s environmental laws. Photo Credit: rob245, stock.adobe.com

Ontario has amended O. Reg. 222/07 under the Environmental Protection Act to create the ability to fine landfills when compliance concerns arise.

The environmental penalty process generally replaces the option of pursuing action against landfills through the court system, which can be a costly and time-consuming option, according to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

The new penalties will range from $1,000 per day for less serious violations to $100,000 per day for the most serious violations, and apply to both open and closed landfill sites with an approved capacity of 40,000 m3 or more.

“This is welcome news for people in my community who have had to endure an intolerable odour from a nearby landfill,” announced Donna Skelly, a Hamilton-area MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook, in a statement. “This move will help ensure all landfills are in compliance with laws that help protect and preserve our air, land and water.”

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The new regulation expands enforcement officers’ ability to issue administrative penalties for a broader range of contraventions and provide frontline staff with stronger tools to better enforce Ontario’s environmental laws, said provincial officials. 

Landfill contraventions of environmental law could relate to the Environmental Protection Act; Nutrient Management Act, 2002; Ontario Water Resources Act; Pesticides Act; and the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002.

The ministry held seven virtual engagement sessions during the proposal period, consulting with over 700 participants, and met with additional stakeholders upon request.

Offenders can seek a reduction of a penalty amount if they can demonstrate that they took steps to prevent or mitigate the contravention.

Revenue from environmental penalties is deposited into the Ontario Community Environment Fund.  

The ministry already uses environmental penalties to support compliance and enforcement efforts at facilities that emit pollution or discharge effluent directly to land and surface waters, and petroleum facilities that discharge sulphur dioxide to the air.

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