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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Environment-Related Acts (NB)

(current to 01 June 2016)

Note Re Application of this Legislation

New Brunswick has spread over three statutes what most provinces do in one environmental protection ('EPA') statute. These statutes are the Clean Environment Act ('CEA'), the Clean Air Act ('CAA') and the Clean Water Act ('CWA'). Roughly, each Act addresses pollution ('contaminant') release issues in land, air and water respectively. The key distinction between the Acts is located in the s.1 definitions of "release" found in each Act, with most other key definitions ("animal", "contaminant", "environment" etc being identical or close to identical).

As with all other environmental-protection legislation, the primary impact of these statutes on wildlife is on wildlife habitat. Those involved in advocating for animals on the basis of environmental contamination will have to locate their situation within the specific prohibitions and regulations contained in these Acts.

These laws bear on the wildlife issues of:
  • HABITAT
  • PROTECTION
The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the New Brunswick statute website.

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1. Overview
(a) Overview
(b) Key Definitions
(c) The Regulations
2. General Prohibitions
(a) Overview
(b) CEA
(c) CAA
(d) CWA
3. Inspectors and their Powers
4. Ministerial Orders
5. Direct Remediation
6. Permits, Approvals Etc
7. Public Registries
8. Designated Protected Areas
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1. Overview

(a) Overview

All of these three pieces of legislation operate under the common principle of the control, elimination and mitigation of the release of contaminants into the environment. The regulatory mechanisms and standards that can be applied to achieve these goals are explained in ss.2-8 below.

(b) Key Definitions

Key terms are defined here:
  • Environment

    With the exception of the CAA, the term environment as used in these Acts is simply "the air, water or soil". The CAA definition is more expansive, including 'living organisms' and 'interacting natural systems' [CEA/CAA/CWA 1].

  • Contaminant

    This definition of 'contaminant', taken from the CEA [s.1], is identical or near-identical to that used in all the Acts:
    “contaminant” means any solid, liquid, gas, micro-organism, odour, heat, sound, vibration, radiation or combination of any of them, present in the environment,

    (a) that is foreign to or in excess of the natural constituents of the environment,

    (b) that affects the natural, physical, chemical or biological quality or constitution of the environment,

    (c) that endangers the health, safety or comfort of a person or the health of animal life, that causes damage to property or to plant life or that interferes with visibility, the normal conduct of transport or business or the normal enjoyment of life or use or enjoyment of property, or

    (d) that is designated by the Minister as a contaminant under section 4.2,
    and includes a pesticide or waste;
  • Release

    Similarly, the term 'release' (here taken from the CEA) is almost identical to that used in the CAA and the CWA, with the exception being the terms 'air' and 'water' are substituted for the occurences of the term 'environment', respectively:
    “release” , when used with reference to a contaminant or other matter regardless of form, includes the discharging, emitting, leaving, depositing or throwing of the contaminant or other matter and the doing of or the omission to do any other activity in respect of the contaminant or other matter, with the direct or indirect result that the contaminant or other matter enters the environment [substituted with air or water] or a part of the environment [similarly substituted], whether or not the contaminant or other matter previously existed in the environment [similarly substituted] or part of the environment [similarly substituted];
    It is this key variation, tucked away in the definition sections [s.1], that constitutes the primary distinction between the three related pieces of legislation.
The defining of an 'animal' as "a vertebrate, invertebrate or micro-organism whether living or dead, other than a human", which occurs in the above-quoted definition of the term 'contaminant', is common to all of the Acts [CEA/CAA/CWA 1]. None of the Acts makes a distinction between wild and domestic animals.

(c) The Regulations

Extended details of specific contaminant standards and regulation are typically set out in the Regulations passed under the CEA, the CAA and the CWA. These may be accessed online at the New Brunswick Attorney-General's Legislation website. Specific contaminants and subjects dealt with include, by Act, the following (though these are not exhaustive, as others will be caught by the generel definition of 'contaminant'):
  • Clean Environment Act

    . Water Quality
    . Petroleum Product Storage and Handling
    . Solid Waste
    . Used Oil
    . Recycling of Household Waste

  • Clean Air Act

    . Ozone Depleting Substances and Other Halocarbons
    . General Air Quality

  • Clean Water Act

    . Wells
    . Watercourse and Wetland Alteration
    . Potable Water
    . Watersheds

2. General Prohibitions

(a) Overview

All three of these pieces of legislation have broad general offence provisions [CEA 33(1), CAA 32(1), CWA 25], which may be pursued if any of the following criteria are triggered absent other legal permission.

(b) CEA

The CEA generally prohibits, absent some form of legal permission (such as a permit or approval) the "release any contaminant or any class of contaminant into or upon the environment or any part of the environment if to do so would or could" [CEA 5.3(1)]:
  • affect the natural, physical, chemical or biological quality or constitution of the environment,

  • endanger the health, safety or comfort of a person or the health of animal life,

  • cause damage to property or plant life, or

  • interfere with visibility, the normal conduct of transport or business or the normal enjoyment of life or property.
Violation of this provision may result in prosecution, and may invoke the application of regulatory methods discussed in s.3-6 below.

(c) CAA

The CAA generally prohibits anyone to "cause or permit the release into the air of a contaminant or a class of contaminant with the result that the release" [CAA 6(2)]:
  • causes damage to any property,

  • substantially interferes with the normal conduct of any business, or

  • causes substantial loss of the normal enjoyment of the use of any property.
Note that, unlike the case with the CEA and the CWA, the CAA prohibition does not cover harm to animals or the environment, so no prosecution is available against such harm under the CAA. However violation of this provision may invoke the application of regulatory methods discussed in s.3-6 below.

(d) CWA

The CWA generally prohibits, absent some form of legal permission (such as a permit or approval) the "release a contaminant or a class of contaminant into or upon the water if to do so would or could" [CWA 12(1)]:
  • affect the natural, physical, chemical or biological quality or constitution of the water,

  • endanger the health, safety or comfort of a person or the health of animal life,

  • cause damage to property or plant life, or

  • interfere with visibility, the normal conduct of transport or business or the normal enjoyment of life or property.
Violation of this provision may result in prosecution, and may invoke the application of regulatory methods discussed in s.3-6 below.


3. Inspectors and their Powers

All of the CEA/CAA/CWA Acts provide for the appointments of inspectors, who have typical enforcement powers of entry and inspection and warrant entry of dwelling places [CEA 23-24.1, CAA 23, CWA 17].


4. Ministerial Orders

Where a contaminant is being released or may be released into the environment in a manner prohibited under the CEA - or where such release is causing or may cause harm to the environment (including animals), humans, visibility, transportation, business or the normal enjoyment of life or property, then the Minister may make Orders against those causing the release [CEA s.5(1,2), CAA 17(1,2), CWA 4(1,2)]:
  • to control, reduce, eliminate or alter the manner of the release of any contaminant into or upon the environment;

  • to alter the procedures to be followed in the control, reduction or elimination of the release of any contaminant into or upon the environment;

  • to install, replace or alter any equipment or thing designed to control, reduce or eliminate the release of any contaminant into or upon the environment; and

  • if a contaminant has been released into or upon the environment, to carry out clean-up, site rehabilitation, restoration of land, premises or personal property or other remedial action.

5. Direct Remediation

Where other methods of enforcement have failed, the Minister may take direct remediation steps including entry and direct activities to achieve the goals of the legislation, the cost of which may be born by those causing the contamination [CEA 5.01, CAA 18, CWA 5].


6. Permits, Approvals Etc

In all of the CEA/CAA/CWA Acts the Minister has authority to grant such permissions ["registration, licence, permit or approval"] [CEA 12, CAA 15, CWA 35] as they see fit, effectively excepting the contaminant release specified in the permission from the operation of the Act. These provisions are intended to allow the Minister to implement what is essentially a licensing regime, allowing them to impose more articulated case-by-case regulation than allowed for with the other regulatory methods described here.


7. Public Registries

All three of the regimes also have provisions for the creation of public registries of applications for and issuances of such registrations, licences, permits or approvals [CEA 13(1,2), CAA 12, CWA 36-37]. I could only find the Clean Air Act Registry online.


8. Designated Protected Areas

Other regulatory techniques used in the three pieces of legislation includes the designation of protected areas, which area afforded higher levels of legal protection, and which has been done as follows:
  • Wetlands (CEA 6.1)

  • Coastal Areas (CEA 6.4)

  • Air Resource Management Areas (CAA 10)
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