Updating Saskatchewan’s Environmental Protection Legislation

This article was prepared with the assistance of summer student Cole Shrimpton.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment is seeking input for a legislative review of The Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2010 (EMPA 2010). The Ministry says the review will inform amendments to improve enforceability and clarity and consistency with other provincial jurisdiction and harmonization with other jurisdictions across Canada.

EMPA 2010 focuses on the protection and management of the environment in Saskatchewan and includes obligations related to air quality, waste management and pollution prevention.

The legislative review is planned to take two years and will involve stakeholder and Indigenous engagement. The Ministry of Environment has released a Discussion Paper seeking comments on three proposed areas for amendment:

1. Language

The Ministry is asking for feedback on definitions or phrases in EMPA 2010 that may be too broad or vague or whether there are other words or phrases that need to be redefined to improve understanding and the interpretation of the legislation.

2. Enforceability and compliance measures

The Discussion Paper suggests there are missing or poorly defined compliance and enforcement provisions within EMPA 2010. The Ministry is asking for feedback on what enforcement measures could be improved or clarified along with what environmental violations are the greatest concern and/or which activities currently lack enforcement and why.

3. Harmonization with other provincial legislation and regulations

The Discussion Paper also suggests that harmonizing provincial legislation will help create a clear, predictable and efficient legal environment. The Ministry is asking for input on whether there are any sections of EMPA 2010 that are inconsistent with other Saskatchewan legislation.

Next steps

Feedback can be submitted by August 25, 2023 by email to empa@gov.sk.ca, using the subject line “EMPA 2010 Legislative Review.”

The Ministry will summarize the feedback received and publish it in a “What We Heard” report in the fall of 2023.

If you or your organization would like more information about the review of EMPA 2010 or assistance in preparing submissions, please reach out to one of the lawyers from our environmental practice group who would be pleased to assist.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.