Environmental Management Systems

In the mid-1970s the City of Sault Ste Marie was charged by the government of Ontario with permitting a discharge from a landfill site into a watercourse. The City had entered into an agreement with a company for the disposal of all refuse from the City. The disposal site selected by the company bordered a creek.

After winding its way through five courts, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) heard the case in 1978. The result of that case was the creation of the ‘strict liability offence’. The strict liability offence allows for the defence of due diligence.

To demonstrate the ‘defence of due diligence’ the defendant must prove to the court that they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent the offence from occurring. The SCC was clear that the reasonable steps must be proactive, not reactive, when they said:

…establishing a proper system to prevent the commission of the offence and by taking reasonable steps to ensure the effective operation of the system (at p. 1331.]

At LJM Environmental Law & Consulting, we understand the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of environmental management systems. We specialize in establishing the relevant links between a competent EMS and the requirements for due diligence expressed by Canadian courts.

Whether your organization is large or small, if you are looking to design a management system or you are interested in reviewing your current system, we can help.

LJM Environmental Law

P.O. Box 2279,
Wolfville, NS, B4P 2N5


Tel: 902.670.1113
Fax: 902.542.7315