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The Severity Of Non Severe Laws Essay

1891 words - 8 pages

The Severity of Non-Severe Laws

As Robert Redford once stated, “... the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defence of our resources is just as important as defence abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?” Humans are dependent on the Earth in order to survive, and without it, there would be no life. In order to maintain the environment, governments enact laws and acts that are meant to protect and sustain, but they aren’t always successful. Many large corporations are ignorant of the side effects of not following these laws, due to the fact that they are blinded by materialistic motives such as profit. The environment means ...view middle of the document...

It was stated that the illegal dumping had been going on for nearly five years prior to its discovery. Although this instance of illicit environmental crimes was discovered, there are countless unknown and disregarded acts happening all across Canada: “Government reports acknowledge that hundreds of companies and municipalities regularity break environmental laws without being prosecuted”. The question when it comes to these crimes is, why aren’t companies following the law? It is common knowledge that most large corporations are only interested in profit and anything that lowers productivity or loses money is usually avoided. In most cases, the proper disposal and handling of hazardous materials will cost money. For example, in Canada, there is a fee for properly recycling many electronics which contain hazardous materials. This is a massive deterrent to following the environmental laws, as not many companies are willing to lose money. Also, properly following laws takes much consideration and more care is needed. This reduces overall productivity, and is also a deterrent. Going against the laws can result in high fines and possibly jail time, depending on the severity of the actions.
Canada has specific acts which contain many laws and monetary penalties for situations where the laws have been violated. In 1971, The Department of the Environment Act was enacted, which is responsible for the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment. Within this act there are numerous conditions which must be followed to preserve the environment. A newer act by the name of Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) was enacted in 1999. There are more than 300 sections to this act, and each one deals with separate aspects of the environment, ranging from water pollution, to illegal forestry. This act goes much more in-depth than The Department of the Environment Act does, as it puts actual laws and monetary fines into act, and focuses on tackling the offenders first hand. Many of these laws are criminal laws and can result in jail time, but many are also enforced through fines and penalties.
Failure to comply with these laws can result in negative effects ranging from penalties and fines to the obvious overall environmental distress. Penalties and fines are the lawful aspect of the negative effects of environmental laws not being followed. The Canadian Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, which was enacted in 2009, states the different penalties which result from breaking environmental laws. This act is almost like a criminal code for the environment. Fines can range anywhere from $50 to as much as $10 million for large scale environmental disasters caused by large corporations. The issue with this type of law is that is it rarely enforced, and it is quite tough to enforce the laws. There are also very many systemic weaknesses in Canada’s legal system when it comes to law, as observed by David R. Boyd...

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