These restorative justice circles are called Community Environmental Justice Forums (CEJFs). Led by a trained, impartial facilitator, the CEJF is a 2 - 2.5 hours process that brings together the responsible company, the community members impacted by the offence and the enforcement agency to discuss what happened and why, and to collectively agree on appropriate restitution for the offence. It requires the offending company to take responsibility for the offence and invites the affected community to be directly involved in determining appropriate restitution.
Wide variety of offences and outcomes
Since 2009, the CEJF has been used in 9 cases, covering a wide variety of offences - air, land and water pollution; killing of fish and bears; illegal cutting and milling of trees and failure to comply with the terms of a permit.
The restorative circle also resulted in a wide variety of outcomes: apologies, donations to environmental enhancement projects and scientific research, annual reviews of the notification system of environmental spills and practical interventions such as the improvement of alarm systems, installation of portable e-fences and the funding the operation of an air monitoring station.
Example: the Trail Teck Metals-case
Following a leachate overflow into Stoney Creek in September 2010 and a mercury discharge into the Columbia River in October 2010, the company Trail Teck Metals participated in such a CEJF. As a result of the process, TrailTeck Metals donated money to several community environmental initiatives. The company was also required to conduct numerous internal process reviews and plant upgrades and issued a public apology through a press release.
According to the Ministry, "What could have taken years in the criminal justice system took only 33 days to complete." Click here to watch a video on this CEJF.
For more information about CEJFs, visit this website.
Wed, 20 March