The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned on:
December 5, 2016

Bill No. 122

Environment Act (amended)

An Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1994-95, the Environment Act

Introduced by:
Honourable Sterling Belliveau
Minister of Environment

First Reading
Second Reading Debates
Second Reading Passed
Law Amendments Committee
    Meeting Date(s) December 5, 2011
    Reported to the House
Committee of the Whole House
Third Reading Debates
Third Reading
Royal Assent
Commencement October 1, 2012
2011 Statutes, Chapter 61

Explanatory Note

Clause 1 clarifies that the purpose of the Environment Act does not require the use of education before resort is had to punitive measures against offenders.

Clause 2

(a) amends the definition of “adverse effect” to remove adverse effects respecting the reasonable enjoyment of life or property;

(b) amends the definition of “approval” to remove the reference to renewals;

(c) deletes the definition of “Board”;

(d) creates a new definition of “certificate of qualification”;

(e) updates the name of the Department of Environment in the definition of “Department”;

(f) adds definitions of “designated organization” and “directive”;

(g) corrects an error in the lettering of the clause following clause 3(z);

(h) updates the name of the Minister of Environment in the definition of “Minister”;

(i) adds definitions of “notification”, “review panel” and “standard”;

(j) creates a new definition of “substance”; and

(k) makes a wording change in the definition of “watercourse”.

Clause 3 makes wording changes in relation to the new definition of “standard”.

Clause 4 makes a wording change and deletes two clauses that are being relocated to the new Section 8A by Clause 5.

Clause 5 sets out and clarifies the powers of the Minister to make regulations establishing fees, prescribing forms and establishing standards in relation to designated activities.

Clause 6 consolidates and revises the provisions respecting the constitution, powers and duties of persons appointed by the Minister, advisory committees established by the Minister (including the Round Table) and experts retained by the Minister.

Clause 7 makes wording changes to account for the new definitions of “directive” and “standard”.

Clause 8 makes the provisions of the Environment Act respecting service of documents explicitly applicable to a directive issued by an inspector.

Clause 9

(a) updates a cross-reference;

(b) allows the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting the management, administration, membership and functioning of advisory committees; and

(c) deletes a regulation-making power that is being transferred to the Minister under Clause 5.

Clause 10 deletes a reference to regulations that do not exist.

Clauses 11 and 12 provide that the Minister, rather than an administrator, is responsible for

(a) preparing the terms of reference for an environmental assessment; and

(b) examining an environmental-assessment report upon its receipt.

Clauses 13 to 19 eliminate the Nova Scotia Environmental Assessment Board and provide for its functions to be carried out by review panels appointed by the Minister on an ad hoc basis.

Clause 20 updates the heading to Part V to reflect the new provisions in connection with notifications and standards being added to that Part by this Act.

Clause 21 prohibits a person from starting or continuing a designated activity without the appropriate class of approval.

Clause 22

(a) requires that an application for an approval be made in the manner prescribed for the class of approval being sought and contain the prescribed information; and

(b) updates the name of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

Clause 23 removes the requirements that the Minister

(a) acknowledge receipt of an application for an approval; and

(b) inform an applicant within ten days of the receipt of an application if the decision on the application will not be made within sixty days.

Clause 24 makes a wording change to account for the new definition of “standard”.

Clause 25

(a) deletes a Section of the Environment Act that is being relocated and expanded by Clause 31;

(b) relocates the existing Section 65A of the Environment Act;

(c) divides Section 58 of the Environment Act into two Sections—one governing the amendment of approvals and the other governing the cancellation or suspension of approvals;

(d) allows the Minister to amend an approval in certain additional circumstances; and

(e) allows the Minister to cancel or suspend an approval if an approval is no longer required under the regulations.

Clause 26 makes wording changes to clarify who, other than an approval holder, may apply for and receive a certificate of variance.

Clause 27

(a) prohibits a person from commencing or continuing a designated activity, or knowingly doing so, without providing a notification to the Minister;

(b) requires that a notification be provided in the manner and contain the information prescribed by the regulations; and

(c) prohibits a person from commencing or continuing a designated activity, or knowingly doing so, except in conformity with the standard governing the activity.

Clause 28 allows an application for a certificate of qualification to be made to an authorized representative of a designated organization.

Clause 29 allows an authorized representative of a designated organization to issue a certificate of qualification in accordance with the regulations.

Clause 30 allows the Minister to exercise the Minister�s powers to amend, cancel or suspend a certificate of qualification in respect of a certificate issued by an authorized representative of a designated organization.

Clause 31 deletes a Section that is being relocated by Clause 25 and replaces it with provisions being relocated from Section 57 of the Environment Act, which is being expanded to govern the requirement that a person other than the Government or a Government agency, where required by the regulations, provide security or carry insurance in respect of an activity or undertaking in certain circumstances.

Clause 32 updates and expands the regulation-making powers by

(a) authorizing regulations prescribing classes of approvals;

(b) authorizing regulations designating activities or classes of activities for which an approval is required, and specifying the class of approval required;

(c) authorizing regulations designating activities for which notification must be given or compliance with a standard is required;

(d) authorizing regulations respecting the circumstances when an approval or notification is required and the persons required to obtain the approval or provide the notification;

(e) authorizing regulations respecting procedures for providing notifications and for applying for or issuing approvals;

(f) relocating the power to make regulations respecting temporary approvals from the former Section 65A;

(g) authorizing regulations designating activities or things in respect of which a certificate of qualification is required and specifying the kind of certificate required;

(h) authorizing regulations prescribing persons required to obtain a certificate of qualification;

(i) authorizing regulations respecting procedures for applying for or issuing certificates of qualification;

(j) authorizing regulations respecting the terms and conditions of approvals and certificates of qualification, and respecting the terms and conditions upon which a certificate of qualification may be reinstated;

(k) authorizing regulations designating organizations for the purpose of issuing certificates of qualification and specifying the kind of certificates they are authorized to issue;

(l) authorizing regulations prescribing the length of time for which an approval or certificate of qualification may be issued, and during which an activity for which a notification is required may continue after notification;

(m) authorizing regulations permitting an approval or certificate of qualification to be issued for a short period of time than that prescribed by the regulations;

(n) authorizing regulations requiring operators, installers or designers of equipment or other things that may have an impact on the environment to meet the specified eligibility requirements or to hold a specified kind of certificate of qualification;

(o) authorizing regulations prescribing certificates and other proofs of qualification from other jurisdictions as certificates of qualification for the purpose of this Act;

(p) changing a cross-reference from the former Section 57 to the new Section 65A;

(q) authorizing regulations respecting the establishment and administration of designated organizations and establishing the applicable reporting requirements;

(r) authorizing regulations respecting reports to be submitted to the Minister and records to be kept; and

(s) authorizing regulations to determine what constitutes adjustments, repairs, replacements or maintenance made in the normal course of operations.

Clause 33 requires a person who discovers or becomes aware of an unlawful release of a substance to report the release.

Clause 34 updates the language of the provisions relating to pesticide research to reflect the provisions and terminology of the federal Pest Control Products Act of 2002.

Clause 35 requires that a remedial action plan prepared for the Minister’s approval or an agreement entered into with the Minister providing for remedial action to be taken be prepared or entered into, as the case may be, in accordance with the regulations.

Clause 36

(a) clarifies the scope of the Governor in Council’s authority to make regulations respecting the duties and rights of persons in relation to contaminated property; and

(b) authorizes the establishment by regulation of reporting and remediation requirements.

Clause 37 corrects a wording error.

Clause 38 deletes a provision respecting well drillers that duplicates provisions in the Well Construction Regulations.

Clause 39 corrects a wording error.

Clause 40 removes a clause from a subsection setting out ministerial duties and relocates it to a subsection setting out ministerial powers.

Clause 41 provides that the Minister, rather than an administrator, is responsible for an investigation.

Clause 42 broadens the scope of an inspector�s rights of entry and inspection and clarifies the powers of an inspector during an inspection.

Clause 43 corrects a typographical error.

Clause 44 revises the provisions of the Environment Act that relate to the seizure of things during an inspection.

Clause 45 provides for the issuance of directives by inspectors.

Clause 46 requires that an emergency order issued by an inspector be ratified and confirmed in writing by an administrator rather than the Minister.

Clause 47 deletes a Section that is being relocated by Clause 52.

Clause 48 provides that an appeal to the Minister does not suspend the operation of the decision or order being appealed.

Clause 49 removes a provision that provides for the hearing and consideration of evidence on appeals to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

Clauses 50 and 51 update the offence and penalty provisions of the Environment Act by including offences relating to engaging in a designated activity without providing a notification to the Minister and making it an offence to contravene a directive or the regulations.

Clause 52 rewords the former Section 133 of the Environment Act and relocates it within Section 166.

Clause 53 requires that the Minister review the Environment Act every ten years or sooner.

Clauses 54 and 55 provide that existing approvals and certificates of qualification continue in force upon the coming into force of this Act.

Clause 56 provides that this Act comes into force upon proclamation.