Despite the claim by Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, that proposed changes to administrative monetary penalties will hold polluters accountable, the changes will have the opposite effect and make it less expensive to pollute in Ontario.
The proposal in Schedule 9 of Bill 132 to eliminate daily fines and cap total fines will make it easier and cheaper for industry in Ontario to illegally dump sewage in our water, use toxic pesticides and pollute the air. Under the Water Resources Act, for example, the maximum fine used to be $100,000 per day. In Bill 132, the proposal is for it to be a maximum of $200,000 per contravention.
Reducing the fines for polluters will lead to severe consequences for the environment and Ontarians’ health.
It is highly deceptive of the Ontario government to claim that it is doing more to hold polluters accountable, when they are actually cutting the penalties polluters face. Ontario must cancel Schedule 9 of Bill 132 and actually increase the fines for polluters if the government really wants to protect the environment.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
To arrange an interview and for more information please contact: Allen Braude, abraude@environmentaldefence.