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Ontario Spill Bill Passes


June 10, 2005


Peter Brady
Douglas Hamilton

 The Ontario government’s so-called "spills bill" which passed yesterday (June 9), will empower Ministry of the Environment (MOE) investigators to penalize companies almost immediately with administrative monetary penalties up to $100,000 per day for spills and other offences. The legislation allows ministry officials to levy such penalties without laying charges. These penalties will go into a special fund to cover the costs of cleaning up toxic spills. Even if such administrative monetary penalties are imposed, the MOE still has the power to lay charges or take other enforcement steps relating to the same event.

Bill 133, the proposed Environmental Enforcement Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, went to an all-party government committee hearing in late May. Based on representations by several environmental groups, industry and local community groups who appeared before the committee, numerous amendments were made to improve the bill. Bill 133 underwent 89 pages of amendments after fierce lobbying from corporations and environmentalists since its introduction last fall. Now only royal assent is needed before it formally becomes law.

Environment Minster The Hon. Leona Dombrowsky indicated that it will likely be next summer before all the necessary regulations are in place and penalties can actually be levied.

For a more thorough analysis, please see also our recent article: You Spill, You Pay - Whither Bill 133?

Link to Bill 133:

MOE - Community Fact Sheet:

MOE - Industry Fact Sheet: