On May 3, 2016, BC's Auditor General released An Audit
of Compliance and Enforcement of the Mining Sector (the
"Audit"). The Audit examined if the Ministry of Energy
and Mines ("MEM") and the Ministry of Environment
("MoE") were adequately protecting British Columbia from
potential environmental risks related to BC's mining sector.
The Audit found that "MEM and MoE's compliance and
enforcement activities (for) the mining sector are inadequate to
protect the province from significant environmental
In response, BC will create a Mining Compliance and Enforcement
Board to oversee an integrated regulatory approach to mining. This
board will be a new independent government agency for the
regulation of the mining industry in BC.
The Audit pointed out a number of significant deficiencies in
the current regime's management of environmental risk,
MEM's mandate to promote the mining industry conflicts with
its role as a regulator.
MEM's planning is weak and its compliance and enforcement
program is inadequate.
MoE's compliance and enforcement framework has significant
MEM and MoE both lack sufficient resources dedicated to
monitoring, compliance and enforcement.
The language of permits is often inconsistent and difficult to
Neither MEM nor MoE uses a permitting approach which ensures
that the polluter, not the taxpayer, pays for environmental
The security provided by industry to cover potential costs of a
catastrophic environmental mishap is insufficient.
Neither MEM nor MoE were conducting adequate monitoring and
Ineffectual enforcement tools led to delayed and unsuccessful
MEM and MoE did not report sufficient information to the public
or legislators about the long-term risks of mining, the
effectiveness of MEM and MoE's oversight and the performance of
Fees for discharging pollutants into the environment have not
been updated since 2004.
In addition to the creation of the Mining Compliance and
Enforcement Board, the Audit, among other things, also
A strategic plan which details the activities of an integrated
and coordinated regulatory approach.
Mining permits written with measureable and enforceable
Accurate reclamation liability estimates and adequate security
to cover potential costs.
Security mechanisms to protect taxpayers from the costs of an
Pollution discharge fees that act as a deterrent
and reduce pollution at mine sites.
A cost recovery model for permitting and compliance
Public disclosure of the rationale for granting a permits under
s. 137 of the Environmental Management Act that allow the
construction and operation of facilities for the treatment,
disposal recycling, storage and destruction of waste, or the
introduction of waste into the environment.
Clear and comprehensive reclamation guidance for industry.
Incentives for environmentally responsible behaviour.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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