The Ministry of Environment’s first-ever compliance report of industrial and commercial operations in British Columbia suggests the vast majority are abiding by provincial environmental regulatory requirements.
In 2015, ministry staff completed 632 inspections under the Environmental Management Act. Results show 95% were either in full compliance or required only an advisory or warning to address minor non-compliances.
Examples of operations inspected include pulp and paper, oil and gas, mining, agriculture, wood processing, hazardous waste and others.
In some cases, inspections were referred for further action and the ministry continues to address non-compliances through more-extensive means. Examples of enhanced action may include issuing administrative penalties or referring for further investigation, which may lead to a violation ticket or court conviction.
The total breakdown of inspections resulted in the following:
- 1% received an order to address environmental risk;
- 4% were referred for further enforcement action;
- 16% received a warning to address major administrative issues or minor to moderate, temporary impact to the environment;
- 39% received an advisory to address minor administrative issues or little to no environmental impact; and
- 40% received a notice of compliance to confirm all parameters were in compliance.
The report and data can be viewed at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/research-monitoring-reporting/reporting/env-compliance-inspection-report
As a result of the breach of the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley in August 2014, ministry inspectors increased their presence at mines throughout the province. In 2015, more than one in four inspections was conducted at a mine (159 out of 632).
The vast majority of mines inspections, 145 out of 159, were either in compliance or required only issuing a first-level enforcement response to address administrative or minor-to-moderate, temporary environmental impacts.
Since 2006, the ministry has publicly reported all individuals and companies issued enforcement responses via the Quarterly Environmental Enforcement Summary and the online searchable environmental violations database. This database includes over 23,000 enforcement actions.
These are available at:
Environmental Violations Database:
Quarterly Environmental Enforcement Summary:
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment –
“Our government is committed to openness and transparency which is why we are publicly releasing this report and all the associated data. The inspections have yielded positive results and I am proud of the work done by ministry staff.”
Martin Pudlas, vice-president Operations, Canfor Pulp –
“Canfor Pulp’s outstanding record in environmental performance is the result of the commitment of each of our employees to continuous improvement, sustainability, operational excellence and transparency. We welcome government’s release of this report, and their ongoing partnership in ensuring leading environmental performance across all industries in the province.”
Ministry of Environment, BC Newsroom: