Good Neighbour Campaigns

Reporting spills and pollution

If you see visible emissions, spills in waterways or waste being improperly handled, report your concerns to the Ministry of the Environment. Reporting spills and pollution to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and other government regulators helps create a public record of an issue and provides the evidence needed for a regulator to act.

Public reports about spills and emissions to the Ministry of the Environment or other regulators will become part of the permanent record of the company. This information  may be considered when the company seeks approvals to expand or change operations, and it lets the regulators know when and how they may need to take action. Researching past reports can provide valuable information about the duration and severity of the problem in the community.

Reporting to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE)

The MOE is responsible for ensuring the protection of the environment, and also issues approvals and permits for companies to make certain emissions. Any concerns about emissions should be reported to the MOE.

Call the MOE 24hr Spills Action Centre at 1 800 268 6060, or contact your local MOE District Office during regular office hours. You can also email reports to moe.tips.moe@ontario.ca (*put address in the TO: field, not CC:).

  • Say that you want to report a spill, and ensure that the agent on the phone is registering this as a formal report.
  • Be prepared to indicate the following with regards to emission:
    • Time of day and date
    • Wind direction if an odour, noise or air emission
    • Location of spill or emission & your location (e.g. if you see air emissions, identify the source if you can and your location when you saw it)
  • You will be asked to provide personal contact information, but you can report anonymously if you choose
  • You will be asked to explain how you have been adversely effected by the odour/noise.
An ‘adverse effect’ in the Environmental Protection Act is defined as experiencing (one or more of) the following while on your property:
  • (a) impairment of the quality of the natural environment for any use that can be made of it,
  • (b) injury or damage to property or to plant or animal life,
  • (c) harm or material discomfort to any person,
  • (d) an adverse effect on the health of any person,
  • (e) impairment of the safety of any person,
  • (f ) rendering any property or plant or animal life unfit for human use,
  • (g) loss of enjoyment of normal use of property, and
  • (h) interference with the normal conduct of business

It’s a good idea to also report spills and emissions to your municipality, another agency or the company itself.  Learn more about the role of other Government Regulators.

Community members around Atlantic Packaging facilities tracked their odour and noise concerns and reported to the MOE, their local Councillor and the company staff. This ensured that all parties were aware of what happened, and also gave the company a chance to identify their own processes and operations that might be causing the odour. Additionally, after many reports and concerns raised by the residents, the MOE officer was well aware of what was going on in the community and agreed to send the Provincial mobile air testing unit to check on emissions and potential health impacts. Read more about the air quality testing here.

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