Perhaps a home-owner burns some brush without a permit or a service technician, topping up an air conditioner, purposefully overlooks a small leak. Or perhaps a company misses the deadline for supplying information to the Environment Department as part of its application for an Air Quality Approval.
Technically, in each of these situations, the individual or company could face prosecution for violating the Clean Air Act.
For minor offenses like these, however, legal action is not always the best response. Prosecution can be time-consuming and expensive, and may not always serve the best interests of New Brunswickers. The Administrative Penalties Regulation provides another option for enforcement.
The Regulation is administered directly by the Department. It allows a Director, appointed by the Minister, to issue a penalty for minor offenses that are not clearly intentional or that cause limited harm to the environment.
First and foremost, this Regulation is designed to encourage individuals and companies to comply with the law, and it allows the Department to impose penalties that are in direct proportion to the offence. When a minor offence occurs, the Department can respond without resorting to the court system, a process which generally involves longer time-frames and greater costs for all involved.