The Gazette explains why Quebec has fallen so far behind Ontario when it comes to handing out fines to major polluters. Quebec was one of the first provinces to adopt the polluter pays principle, but essentially has failed to enforce it. All that will be coming to an end if the government follows through on its intention to legislate significant fine increases. Individuals caught emitting prohibited contaminants risk fines up to one million dollars — that’s 40 times where they are now. For company directors and officers, maximum fines will be raised to two million dollars, up from $25,000.
Just as significantly, the government is also planning to give inspectors the means to enforce the law. If passed, the law will give much greater administrative powers to inspectors who will to issue administrative sanctions against obvious polluters without having to go to court. Such fines can vary between $250 and $10,000.