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Simon Shields,
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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (Alberta)

(current to 01 August 2016)
Note Re Application of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act ('EPEA')

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • PROTECTION
  • HABITAT
  • EXTERMINATION
  • HUMAN HEALTH

The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Alberta statute website.

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Table of Contents
1. Overview
2. Pesticides
3. Enforcement
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1. Overview

Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) is the province's general environmental pollution statute and as such impacts on animal habitat and protection. It expressly cites "living organisms", "air, land and water" and "interacting natural systems" within it's key operative concept of "environment" [EPEA s.1(t)], so both animals and their habitat are anticipated as being impacted by the legislation. The few specific mentions of "animals" apply to "any animal other than a human" [EPEA 1(e)], so both domestic and wild animals are covered.

The dominant and immediate goals of the EPEA are reduction and mitigation of harm to the environment from such things as industrial contamination [EPEA Part 5, Division 2], hazardous waste [Part 9, Division 3], pesticides [Part 8] and similar substances. As well, the Act includes the province's environmental assessment provisions [EPEA Part 2, Division 1].


2. Pesticides

It is in relation to pesticides that the EPEA has it's most direct application to animals, both with respect to the extermination of 'pest' animals, and to the incidental protection of non-pest animals and humans from improper use and storage of pesticides. For these purposes, 'pest' means "any injurious, noxious or troublesome plant or animal life and includes any injurious, noxious or troublesome organic function of a plant or animal" [EPEA 1(uu)] and 'pesticide' means (in relevant part) "a substance that is intended, sold or represented for use in preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any insect, nematode, rodent, predatory animal, parasite, bacteria, fungus, weed or other form of plant or animal life or virus, ..." [EPEA 1(vv)].

Other than a typical certificate and registration regime [in the 'Pesticides (Ministerial) Regulation; Pesticide Sales, Handling, Use and Application Regulation'] established to regulate sale and use of pesticides, the following hazardous substance and pesticide-related provisions relate to animals:
  • persons storing or transporting "a hazardous substance or pesticide shall do so in a manner that ensures that the hazardous substance or pesticide does not directly or indirectly come into contact with or contaminate any animals, plants, food or drink" [EPEA 155];

  • the Director (appointed under the EPEA) may issue an environmental protection Order where they believe that "any crop, food, feed, animal, plant, water, produce, product or other matter has been or may be contaminated by a hazardous substance or pesticide" [EPEA 156];

    Such Orders may require persons to "to stop, limit or control the manufacture, application or release of the hazardous substance or pesticide into the environment" either permanently or for specified time periods and direct how they "may be used, handled, transported, stored, sold, manufactured or disposed of" [EPEA 159].

  • sale or distribution of hazardous substance or pesticide-contaminated animals is prohibited [EPEA 157].

3. Enforcement

Remedies include prosecution of offences for violation of the EMA [EPEA s.227] and enforcement Orders [EPEA 210].

As a practical matter, those facing animal-related EPEA concerns would most commonly have recourse to the EPEA where animals are being impacted by industrial pollution, toxins, pesticides or similar substance-related harm. Even then they would have to locate the substances within the Act and the extensive EPEA Regulations to see how the problem is regulated and what can be done about it.

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