B.C. closing the gap on overdue penalties

The provincial government is naming names and taking away privileges as part of a new strategy

Ministry of Environment

VICTORIA – The provincial government is naming names and taking away privileges as part of a new strategy aimed at increasing the collection rate of overdue environmental court penalties, announced Environment Minister Mary Polak.

In a report released Nov. 11, Closing the Gap, the Province publicly names the 18 businesses and 155 individuals with overdue environmental court penalties owing to the Province or to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Letters are being sent to those identified with fishing and hunting licences revoking these privileges. Once paid in full, these individuals will again be eligible to obtain licences or permits. The ministry will be updating the list at the end of January 2014.

During the reporting period from 2004 to 2012, more than 80 per cent of the 1,540 court convictions were paid. While the majority of the number of fines was paid, this only represents 40 per cent of the $1.9 million owed.

Currently, $1.14 million remains outstanding to the Province and more than $400,000 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

This new strategy is the first of its kind in North America. The goal is to increase the collection rate of overdue environmental court penalties from 40 per cent to an aggressive target of 95 per cent by June 2014.

A follow-up report will be issued in June 2014 to highlight the progress made in collecting the overdue environmental court penalties. This will supplement the Quarterly Environmental Enforcement Summaries, which name individuals and businesses subject to enforcement actions, and the Environmental Violations Database, a searchable catalogue of all enforcement actions published since 2006.

Closing the Gap: A Special Report on Overdue Environmental Court Penalties (2004-2012), can be viewed at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/main/compliance-reporting/docs/closing-the-gap.pdf