Compliance and Enforcement in the Mining Sector

Challenges to Enforcement

In the 1980s, a study of environmental law in Canada showed that although legislative and regulatory measures were satisfactory in principle, enforcement efforts had been inconsistent and inadequate in practice. This problem was coined the “implementation gap”.85 Thirty years later, the same problem still exists. As discussed above, relatively strong legal provisions exist to support strong law enforcement at mines in BC. The problem lies in the practical implementation, or lack of implementation, of these laws.

The following sections discuss key issues facing the enforcement of environmental laws at mines in BC. They include:

  • discretionary laws and the challenges discretion poses to enforcement;
  • voluntary compliance;
  • cuts to government budgets and lack of government capacity; and
  • insufficient penalties and liability, and harmonized enforcement efforts.

These are discussed in detail in the following sections.

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Problems and Solutions


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