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More than twenty years later, the Ministry of the Environment is still erratic about enforcement. The creation of the Investigation and Enforcement Branch, and the Compliance and Enforcement policy, were meant to ensure fair and predictable enforcement of all environmental laws. The entire structure was given another boost after the Walkerton water contamination debacle in 2000.
Yet, even after all that, many problems fall through the cracks. In one of our current cases, the MOE ordered a polluter to delineate its contamination in 2003; five years later, the unfortunate victim is still waiting. Why hasn’t the MOE prosecuted? They lost track of the case.
In another case, a leaking gas station contaminated to its property boundary, but won’t dig any further, saying there are utility lines in the way. Again, the innocent neighbour is left without help, even after $1 million in damages. (The TSSA isn’t helping either.)
And then there is Algonquin Park. The MOE regularly issues expensive cleanup orders to polluters in other places. But it’s now ten years since CNR abandoned its contaminated rail line through Algonquin Park, and the MOE still won’t take enforcement action.

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