Environmental Law

Section 2: Legislation that Protects the Environment

Offences Against the Environment

In Canada, most offences against the environment haven't traditionally been regarded as criminal offences. Most of the statutes passed by the federal government aimed at protecting the environment have created what are called regulatory offences . People found guilty in court of regulatory offences are not criminals, but they may have to pay large fines.

Personally, I think someone who poisons the air I breathe or the water I drink is far worse than a guy who steals my money. If a thief is a criminal, a polluter certainly should be too.

Many people would probably agree with you-at least in severe cases of environmental damage. That's why recent legislation is much tougher than older statutes. Remember, our awareness of the seriousness of environmental dangers is a pretty recent thing. You willl be looking at a few typical statues creating regulatory offences before moving on to some of the stiffer laws in place today.