“Our government takes environmental violations very seriously, and we are committed to holding polluters accountable,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “By expanding environmental penalties to landfill facilities, this regulation gives us the ability to take stronger actions to protect Ontarians through swift financial consequences for breaking the law.”

The change comes in the form of an amendment to the Environmental Penalties Regulation (O. Reg. 227/07) under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act. It applies to open and closed landfilling sites with an approved capacity of 40,000 cubic metres or more.

The environmental penalties will range from $1,000 per day for less serious violations to $100,000 per day for the most serious violations. The funds collected from these penalties will be reinvested in impacted communities through the Ontario Community Environment Fund to support activities such as shoreline cleanups or tree planting.

These local projects are in addition to other actions companies may have been ordered to do to repair harm caused by a violation of environmental laws, such as taking steps to prevent discharges of contaminants, including odour, that cause an adverse effect.

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

The ministry has successfully used environmental penalties to support enforcement of violations at industrial plants that emit pollution or discharge effluent directly to land and surface waters, and petroleum facilities that discharge sulphur dioxide into the air. Over the past three years, more than 95 per cent of facilities issued penalties were able to demonstrate actions to prevent or mitigate the violation and/or for having an environmental management system in place.

Source: Ontario Government News Release