Nova Scotia has announced that the province will soon hire a prosecutor to focus on environmental law, including enforcing protections of the province’s water supply.
defending the health of rivers and streams and safeguarding the province’s water supply.
“We want to ensure that companies and individuals are following the legislation in place to protect the environment and our health,” said Environment Minister Iain Rankin. “Having a dedicated prosecutor in place will help us to better hold people and companies accountable when they break the law.”
The Public Prosecution Service and the Department of Environment worked together to create this new position. The prosecutor will take cases to court related to the Environment Act, food safety, public health, meat inspection, fisheries and aquaculture, animal welfare, natural resources, and the fur industry.
“This prosecutor will focus on the kinds of breaches that put our rivers and streams, our fishery, our water supplies, our parks, and protected areas and human health at risk,” said Rankin. Penalties for offences prosecuted under the Environment Act can lead to fines up to $1 million.
Last November, the province’s Auditor General, Michael Pickup, warned the province of its rising liability for a contaminated wastewater site at Boat Harbour, near the lands of the Pictou Landing First Nation. Pickup warned that as liability increases for contaminated sites, such as the one at Boat Harbour, the fiscal uncertainty can disrupt long-term planning.
The recruitment process will begin immediately, and in the coming months, the province will move to share a list of environmental offences that have been prosecuted online.
In the 2016–17 fiscal year, Department of Environment staff performed more than 22,400 inspections and audits and issued more than 5,500 enforcement actions. These include directives, warnings, compliance orders, summary offence tickets, and court cases.