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Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (S.C. 1999, c. 33)

Act current to 2024-06-19 and last amended on 2023-06-22. Previous Versions

PART 2Public Participation (continued)

Environmental Protection Action (continued)

Marginal note:Costs

 In deciding whether to award costs in an environmental protection action, the court may consider any special circumstances, including whether the action is a test case or raises a novel point of law.

Action to Prevent or Compensate Loss

Marginal note:Injunction

 Any person who suffers, or is about to suffer, loss or damage as a result of conduct that contravenes any provision of this Act or the regulations may seek an injunction from a court of competent jurisdiction ordering the person engaging in the conduct

  • (a) to refrain from doing anything that it appears to the court causes or will cause the loss or damage; or

  • (b) to do anything that it appears to the court prevents or will prevent the loss or damage.

Marginal note:Civil cause of action

 Any person who has suffered loss or damage as a result of conduct that contravenes any provision of this Act or the regulations may, in any court of competent jurisdiction, bring an action to recover from the person who engaged in the conduct

  • (a) an amount equal to the loss or damage proved to have been suffered by the person; and

  • (b) an amount to compensate for the costs that the person incurs in connection with the matter and proceedings under this section.

Other Matters

Marginal note:Evidence of offence

  •  (1) In an action under this Part, the record of proceedings in any court in which a defendant was convicted of an offence under this Act is evidence that the defendant committed the offence.

  • Marginal note:Certificate evidence of conviction

    (2) In the action, evidence that a defendant was convicted of an offence under this Act may be given by a certificate stating with reasonable particularity the conviction and sentence of the defendant.

  • Marginal note:Signature of certificate

    (3) The certificate shall be signed by

    • (a) the person who made the conviction; or

    • (b) the clerk of the court in which the conviction was made.

    Once it is proved that the defendant is the offender mentioned in the certificate, it is evidence without proof of the signature or the official character of the person appearing to have signed it.

Marginal note:Civil remedies not affected

  •  (1) No civil remedy for any conduct is suspended or affected by reason only that the conduct is an offence under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Remedies not repealed, etc.

    (2) Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted so as to repeal, remove or reduce any remedy available to any person under any law in force in Canada.

  • Marginal note:Damages caused by a ship

    (3) No claim for damage caused by a ship may be made under this Act to the extent that a claim for that damage may be made under the Marine Liability Act or the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act.

  • 1999, c. 33, s. 42
  • 2001, c. 6, s. 112

PART 3Information Gathering, Objectives, Guidelines and Codes of Practice


Marginal note:Definitions

 The definitions in this section apply in this Part.


fish has the meaning assigned by section 2 of the Fisheries Act. (poissons)

hormone disrupting substance

hormone disrupting substance means a substance having the ability to disrupt the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action or elimination of natural hormones in an organism, or its progeny, that are responsible for the maintenance of homeostasis, reproduction, development or behaviour of the organism. (substance hormonoperturbante)

Environmental Data and Research

Marginal note:Monitoring, research and publication

  •  (1) The Minister shall

    • (a) establish, operate and maintain a system for monitoring environmental quality;

    • (b) conduct research and studies relating to pollution prevention, the nature, transportation, dispersion, effects, control and abatement of pollution and the effects of pollution on environmental quality, and provide advisory and technical services and information related to that research and those studies;

    • (c) conduct research and studies relating to

      • (i) environmental contamination arising from disturbances of ecosystems by human activity,

      • (ii) changes in the normal geochemical cycling of toxic substances that are naturally present in the environment, and

      • (iii) detection and damage to ecosystems;

    • (d) collect, process, correlate, interpret, create an inventory of and publish on a periodic basis data on environmental quality in Canada from monitoring systems, research, studies and any other sources;

    • (e) formulate plans for pollution prevention and the control and abatement of pollution, including plans respecting the prevention of, preparedness for and response to an environmental emergency and for restoring any part of the environment damaged by or during an emergency, and establish, operate and publicize demonstration projects and make them available for demonstration; and

    • (f) publish, arrange for the publication of or distribute through an information clearing-house

      • (i) information respecting pollution prevention,

      • (ii) pertinent information in respect of all aspects of environmental quality, and

      • (iii) a periodic report on the state of the Canadian environment.

  • Marginal note:Cooperation and agreements

    (2) The Minister may

    • (a) in establishing a system referred to in paragraph (1)(a), cooperate with governments, foreign governments and aboriginal people and with any person who has established or proposes to establish any such system; and

    • (b) with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into agreements for the operation or maintenance of a system referred to in paragraph (1)(a) by the Minister on behalf of any government, aboriginal people or any person or for the operation or maintenance of any such system by the government or any person on behalf of the Minister.

  • Marginal note:Cooperation with other bodies

    (3) The Minister may, in exercising the powers conferred by paragraphs (1)(b) to (e), act in cooperation with any government, foreign government, government department or agency, institution, aboriginal people or any person and may sponsor or assist in any of their research, studies, planning or activities in relation to environmental quality, pollution prevention, environmental emergencies or the control or abatement of pollution.

  • Marginal note:Protection of right to healthy environment

    (3.1) The Ministers shall conduct research, studies or monitoring activities to support the Government of Canada in protecting the right to a healthy environment referred to in paragraph 2(1)(a.2).

  • Marginal note:Hormone disrupting substances

    (4) The Ministers shall conduct research or studies relating to hormone disrupting substances, methods related to their detection, methods to determine their actual or likely short-term or long-term effect on the environment and human health, and preventive, control and abatement measures to deal with those substances to protect the environment and human health.

Marginal note:Role of Minister of Health

  •  (1) The Minister of Health shall

    • (a) conduct research and studies, including biomonitoring surveys, relating to the role of substances in illnesses or in health problems;

    • (b) collect, process, correlate and publish on a periodic basis data from any research or studies done under paragraph (a); and

    • (c) distribute available information to inform the public about the effects of substances on human health.

  • Marginal note:Vulnerable populations

    (2) For greater certainty, the research and studies referred to in paragraph (1)(a) may relate to vulnerable populations.

Information Gathering

Marginal note:Notice requiring information

  •  (1) The Minister may, for the purpose of conducting research, creating an inventory of data, formulating objectives and codes of practice, issuing guidelines or assessing or reporting on the state of the environment, publish in the Canada Gazette and in any other manner that the Minister considers appropriate a notice requiring any person described in the notice to provide the Minister with any information that may be in the possession of that person or to which the person may reasonably be expected to have access, including information regarding the following:

    • (a) substances specified in the plan developed under section 73;

    • (b) substances that have not been determined to be toxic under Part 5 because of the current extent of the environment’s exposure to them, but whose presence in the environment must be monitored if the Minister considers that to be appropriate;

    • (c) substances, including nutrients, that can be released into water or are present in products like water conditioners and cleaning products;

    • (d) substances released, or disposed of, at or into the sea;

    • (e) substances that are toxic under section 64 or that may become toxic;

    • (e.1) products that contain a substance that is toxic under section 64 or that may become toxic, or products that may release such a substance into the environment;

    • (f) substances that may cause or contribute to international or interprovincial pollution of fresh water, salt water or the atmosphere;

    • (g) substances or fuels that may contribute significantly to air pollution;

    • (h) substances that, if released into Canadian waters, cause or may cause damage to fish or to their habitat;

    • (i) substances that, if released into areas of Canada where there are migratory birds, endangered species or other wildlife regulated under any other Act of Parliament, are harmful or capable of causing harm to those birds, species or wildlife;

    • (j) substances that are on the list established under regulations made under subsection 200(1);

    • (k) the release of substances into the environment at any stage of their life-cycle;

    • (k.1) activities that may contribute to pollution;

    • (k.2) hydraulic fracturing;

    • (k.3) tailings ponds;

    • (l) pollution prevention; and

    • (m) use of federal land and of aboriginal land.

  • Marginal note:Other recipient

    (2) The Minister may, in accordance with an agreement signed with a government, require that a person to whom a notice is directed submit the information to the Minister or to that government.

  • Marginal note:Conditions respecting access to information

    (3) An agreement referred to in subsection (2) shall set out conditions respecting access by the Minister or other government to all or part of the information that the person is required to submit and may set out any other conditions respecting the information.

  • Marginal note:Period of notice and date for compliance

    (4) A notice referred to in subsection (1) must indicate the period during which it is in force, which may not exceed three years, and the date or dates within which the person to whom the notice is directed shall comply with the notice.

  • Marginal note:Compliance with notice

    (5) Every person to whom a notice is directed shall comply with the notice.

  • Marginal note:Extension of time

    (6) The Minister may, on request in writing from any person to whom a notice is directed, extend the date or dates within which the person shall comply with the notice.

  • Marginal note:Manner

    (7) The notice must indicate the manner in which the information is to be provided.

  • Marginal note:Preservation of information

    (8) The notice may indicate the period during which, and the location where, the person to whom the notice is directed shall keep copies of the required information, together with any calculations, measurements and other data on which the information is based. The period may not exceed three years from the date the information is required to be submitted to the Minister.

Marginal note:Guidelines

  •  (1) The Minister shall issue guidelines respecting the use of the powers provided for by subsection 46(1) and, in issuing those guidelines, the Minister shall take into account any factor that the Minister considers relevant, including

    • (a) the costs and benefits to the Minister and the person to whom the notice under subsection 46(1) is directed;

    • (b) the co-ordination of requests for information with other governments, to the extent practicable; and

    • (c) the manner in which the information collected under subsection 46(1) is to be used.

  • Marginal note:Consultation

    (2) In carrying out the duties under subsection (1), the Minister shall offer to consult with the government of a province and the members of the Committee who are representatives of aboriginal governments and may consult with a government department or agency, aboriginal people, representatives of industry and labour and municipal authorities or with persons interested in the quality of the environment.

  • Marginal note:Minister may act

    (3) At any time after the 60th day following the day on which the Minister offers to consult in accordance with subsection (2), the Minister may act under subsection (1) if the offer to consult is not accepted by the government of a province or members of the Committee who are representatives of aboriginal governments.

  • 1999, c. 33, s. 47
  • 2017, c. 26, s. 63(E)

Marginal note:National inventory

 The Minister shall establish a national inventory of releases of pollutants using the information collected under section 46 and any other information to which the Minister has access, and may use any information to which the Minister has access to establish any other inventory of information.

Marginal note:Publication in whole or in part

 The notice published under subsection 46(1) must indicate whether or not the Minister intends to publish the information and, if so, whether in whole or in part.

Marginal note:Publication of inventory

 Subject to subsection 53(4), the Minister shall publish the national inventory of releases of pollutants in any manner that the Minister considers appropriate and may publish or give notice of the availability of any other inventory of information established under section 48, in any manner that the Minister considers appropriate.

Marginal note:Request for confidentiality

 A person who provides information to the Minister under subsection 46(1) may, if the Minister’s intention to publish the information has been indicated under section 49, submit with the information a written request, setting out a reason referred to in section 52, that the information be treated as confidential.

Marginal note:Reasons

 Despite Part 11, a request under section 51 may only be based on any of the following reasons:

  • (a) the information constitutes a trade secret;

  • (b) the disclosure of the information would likely cause material financial loss to, or prejudice to the competitive position of, the person providing the information or on whose behalf it is provided; and

  • (c) the disclosure of the information would likely interfere with contractual or other negotiations being conducted by the person providing the information or on whose behalf it is provided.


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