Key Insights into Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs): Lessons from Recent Cases

Since 2017, the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation has issued Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) to support the enforcement of the Mines Act, associated regulations, and permits issued under the Act.

Mining Administrative Monetary Penalties

Ascendion Law has studied thirty-nine Determinations of Administrative Penalties, representing a complete dataset of all decisions published by the EMLI.

Our white paper can help mining companies subject to administrative action by the Chief Inspector predict the average fines and penalties they may receive. This data set provides insight into which factors are more likely to either mitigate or increase a potential penalty – such as due diligence, the compliance history of the companies or individuals involved, and the severity of the adverse effects of the violation. 

Lessons Learned: Mitigating Risks

Our study suggests three key compliance actions may help protect your company from regulatory action, or if a violation is found, potentially mitigate the size and severity of a penalty.

  1. Obtain a broad and descriptive permit that covers all past and expected activities on the mine site. Most AMPs are issued for permit violations or engaging in activities outside the scope of a permit.
  2. Prioritize worker safety and environmental compliance. Serious incidents resulting in worker injuries or significant environmental damage often lead to higher penalties. Prioritizing worker safety and implementing robust environmental compliance measures are an important part of any responsible operation, reduces risk, and may mitigate the penalties levied in the case of an accident.
  3. Establish a strong compliance program. Conducting regular internal audits, providing training to employees, and implementing effective monitoring mechanisms can help identify compliance risks and prevent violations.

Rights and Responsibilities During Regulatory Investigations

The AMP system is part of a wider trend of governments increasingly using administrative regulatory mechanisms to deal with violations and promote compliance. While this can be more time efficient and cost effective than court proceedings, it requires fewer procedural safeguards. 

Understanding your rights and responsibilities during any regulatory investigation is critical. Legal counsel can provide guidance on understanding legal obligations, developing effective response strategies, and protecting the company's interests throughout the process.

Visit our site to download the full white paper, including a detailed analysis of the factors that determine the size and severity of any penalties.