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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Environmental Management and Protection Act (Saskatchewan)

(current to 15 August 2016)

Note Re Application of the Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2010 ('EMPA'):

The EMPA is Saskatchewan's workhorse environment protection legislation, and it applies across the province.

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • PROTECTION
  • HABITAT
The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Saskatchewan statute website.


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

Saskatchewan's Environmental Management and Protection Act (EMPA) 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" [EMPA s.2(1)(h)], so - while 'animals' (domestic or wild) are not expressly addressed in the legislation - both they and their habitat are anticipated as being impacted by the legislation.

The dominant and immediate goals of the EMPA are of reduction and mitigation of harm to the environment in relation to such subjects as water (waterworks and sewage) [EMPA Part V], waste management (litter, beverage containers, recycling, solid waste, liquid domestic waste, industrial waste and industrial tailings) [EMPA Part VI], air quality [EMPA Part VII] and even 'terrorist activity' [EMPA Part VIII].


2. Enforcement

Substantive enforcement provisions of the EMPA include:
  • prohibitions on discharges of substances into the environment in an amount, concentration or level or at a rate of release that causes or may cause an adverse effect [EMPA 8];

    For these purposes, an 'adverse effect' is "impairment of or damage to the environment or harm to human health, caused by any chemical, physical or biological alteration or any combination of any chemical, physical or biological alterations" [EMPA 2(1)].

  • a 'duty to report' by anyone who discharges or allows the discharge of a substance into the environment that may cause or is causing an adverse effect [EMPA 9] (applies to landowners, occupiers and workers as well);

  • a duty to take immediate action to "repair or remedy any undue risk" or to "reduce or mitigate danger to life, health, property or the environment that results or that may reasonably be expected to result from the discharge of the substance" by the person responsible, and the land owner [EMPA 10];

  • authority of the Minister to, when a site may be environmentally impacted, to require a person to conduct a site assessment [EMPA 13], and if it is so impacted to prepare a corrective action plan [EMPA 14];

  • ministerial environmental protection Orders where "a person is doing any thing or carrying out any activity that may cause or is causing an immediate or significant adverse effect" or where "a substance is present at a site that may cause or is causing an adverse effect" [EMPA 55-56];

  • authority for the minister to engage in direct action to bring about compliance with Orders in the face of non-compliance by the persons responsible [EMPA 60-61].
Citizens may request the initiation of environmental investigations [EMPA 71].

The EMPA also establishes an environmental registry which contains such things as "notices of site condition, corrective action plans, site assessments and environmental protection orders" [EMPA 22]. Permits are also required for a range of activities that are set out in the Schedule to the EMPA - ie. waterworks, water treatment works, water distribution systems, and sewage works [EMPA 24,27].

Remedies include prosecution of offences for violation of the EMPA, of Orders made under it's authority, and of permit conditions [EMPA s.29,84] - as well as administrative fines [EMPA 88]. Environment officers, who possess typical peace officer powers are appointed by the Minister for enforcement purposes [EMPA 74,76].

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