Keeping Up with Environmental Obligations in the Time of Covid-19

  • April 09, 2020
  • Jessica Boily, Anna Côté, Mark Youden, Alexei Paish, and Harry Dahme

Ongoing environmental compliance is required

Any company that runs a facility must ensure that it continues to run in compliance with all applicable environmental permits, licenses and approvals, except where the regulator has explicitly suspended environmental obligations.

Operational limits and emergency amendments

Many companies have required dramatic changes in their operations in response to government measures to limit the spread of the pandemic. Many are being forced to suspend operations or have their workforce work remotely, while other are being asked to ramp up production for critical supplies and services. As a result, these facilities may be at risk of operating outside of their mandated capacity. It is important to review all applicable operational requirements to ensure that no limits are being exceeded.

Where exceedances of capacity or limits are found or expected:

  • An emergency amendment to the applicable license, permit or approval should be requested immediately. Begin a conversation with the relevant regulator, outlining the reasons that the change is needed.

Reporting Requirements

In addition to ongoing operational limits, many companies are subject to multiple environmental reporting requirements. In some instances, failure to comply with these requirements may constitute an offence. These reporting obligations can include:

  • reports required under an Environmental Compliance Approval, a permit, a license, or an administrative order;
  • reporting in accordance with federal or provincial greenhouse gas reporting regulations;
  • National Pollutant Release Inventory reporting; and
  • reporting requirements in other environmental legislation that may apply on a case-by-case basis.

These reporting requirements can be annual, monthly, on a specific date, or on some other schedule.