Section 194 of the Ontario Environmental Protection Act imposes
substantial duties on corporate officers and directors, without
defining who they are. It is essential for people to know
whether these duties and this environmental liability applies to
them. If, as the Ministry of the Environment claims, section 18 of
the Act imposes absolute liability on officers and directors for
corporate environmental problems, it is even more urgent to
know who is, and who is not, an "officer" of any
corporation, whether private, municipal, or other. For example, is
an environmental manager an "officer" within the meaning
of the EPA?
In R. v. 349977 Ontario Inc. o/a Lacombe
Waste 2013 CarswellOnt 11137 at para
53, the MOE charged an environmental manager of a waste management corporation with
numerous corporate waste management offences, arguing that he was
an "officer" of the corporation. He was not listed
as an "officer" or "director" on any of the
official records that the corporation filed under the Ontario Business Corporations
Act. During the trial, the MOE alleged that the
environmental manager was an "officer" of the corporation
for the purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, and
that section 194 could therefore be used as a benchmark of his
The appeal judge ruled that the environmental manager was not an
"officer" within the meaning of the EPA. He was
acquitted of all the charges; the Crown had not proven that he
participated in any of the offences or knew about them at the time
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