Enforcement of Manitoba Crop Residue Burning Program

Who is Responsible for Enforcement?

Environment Officers from Manitoba Sustainable Development, RCMP and municipal police enforce the Regulation. Burning infractions are normally dealt with by issuing an Offence Notice (a ticket) under The Summary Convictions Act. Enforcement may also be carried out by laying a charge directly under The Environment Act; this would most likely be for repeat or more serious offences.

How Will Enforcement be carried out?

Tickets can be issued on the spot (to the operator or owner of the property where the infraction has occurred). Under The Summary Convictions Act, the standard fine for a first time offence exceeds $2000. In addition, an ‘Extinguish Order’ will be issued, which, if not complied with, will trigger further charges.

If health or safety problems arise from smoke from a specific legal fire, and RCMP or Medical Health Officer will issue an ‘Extinguish Order’.

If not complied with, charges will be laid plus the fire will be ordered extinguished by a local Fire Department. Provisions of the regulation allow for bill-back to the offender for such extinguishment costs.

What the Regulation Says

  1. For illegal burns (for example, burning at night or on a day when burning is not authorized (‘closed day’)):
    1. First Offence: Common Offence Notice plus ‘Extinguish Order’.
    2. Second Offence: Information plus ‘Extinguish Order’.
    3. Failure to comply with Order of Environment Officer: Information. (A third party will not be called out to extinguish fire unless it is determined that there is a traffic or health hazard).
  2. Legal burns but causing health or highway hazards (Section 4(2)(d)):
    1. RCMP to make determination regarding highway hazard.
    2. Manitoba Health (Medical Officer of Health) to make determination regarding health hazard.
    3. Extinguish Order to be issued immediately.
    4. Information to be laid if non-compliance with Order.
    5. If non-compliance with Extinguish Order, third party to be called out to extinguish fire (Section 10(4)).  
  3. Other Offences (for example, lack of supervision or lack of proper fire-guard):
    1. Since these terms are not clearly defined, they constitute judgement calls on the part of the Environment Officers.
    2. If, in the opinion of the Environment Officer, it is appropriate – a formal written warning can be issued.

Who will be charged to be the recipient of the Orders?

  1. Normally this would be the occupier of the land since presumably he is responsible for the fire.
  2. It may be appropriate to charge an owner as well if it can be shown he has some responsibility for illegal fires.

How is it determined who is the owner/occupier of the land where the fire is occurring?

  1. If there is no obvious person present and/or identifiably responsible for the illegal fire: a. Common Offence Notice and/or Information can be issued the following day. Municipal Offices will have records of land ownership.
  2. It will be important to gather supporting information to prove that an illegal fire had occurred and specific geographic information as to where the fire occurred (ex. 5.5 miles west of the intersection of #X and #Y highways on #X highway).