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Ontario environmental penalties not a deterrent for repeat offenders, say critics

Companies can apply for penalty reductions of up to 35 per cent for good behaviour, like taking preventative steps, mitigating action or showing a response plan is in place.

Published May 12, 2023 at 2:00pm

Joseph Coppolino
Joseph Coppolino
Ontario environmental penalties not a deterrent for repeat offenders, say critics
Shell Canada's refinery south of Sarnia, Ontario is shown on Thursday, March 29, 2007. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)

Annual reports of fines handed out under Ontario’s environmental protection laws show large companies polluting toxic chemicals receive heavily discounted penalty fees despite repeated violations of environmental regulations.

In 2005, the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) were amended to include monetary fines for companies violating certain environmental regulations.

EPA violations, which range from failing to submit paperwork to the discharging of toxic chemicals beyond allowable limits, come with penalties of up to $100,000 “for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues,” as stated in the legislation.

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