Environment Canada confirms The Counter Signal documents are ‘authentic’

Rachel Emmanuel

August 30, 2022

Environment and Climate Change Canada has confirmed documents published by The Counter Signal revealing a new Winnipeg facility hosting a firearms armoury are “authentic.”

Environment Canada confirms The Counter Signal documents are ‘authentic’
Environment Canada confirms The Counter Signal documents are ‘authentic.’

Last week, The Counter Signal reported that the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is building a new facility, which includes biological labs, media relations offices, intelligence facilities and “controlled quiet rooms.”

In an emailed statement, Environment Canada confirmed documents first published by The Counter Signal are “authentic” — and that some enforcement officers are entitled to weapons to carry out their duties. 

“The floor plans in the Counter Signal article are authentic,” confirmed spokesperson Amelie Desmarais. “They were shared publicly in July 2021 as part of a contracting process to secure services to renovate the floors occupied by ECCC, mainly to align with Government of Canada GCWorkplace standards.”

As previously reported by The Counter Signal, the facility will be over 50,000 square feet and house hundreds of Environment Canada and weather forecasting staff. 

Environment Canada said its enforcement branch is mandated to enforce federal environmental legislation aimed at pollution prevention and protecting Canada’s wildlife and biodiversity. Enforcement responsibilities cover more than 60 regulations.

The department said the agency has officers across Canada under Environment Canada legislation and the Criminal Code. These officers have powers and protections of Peace Officers, the agency said.

“They have the authority to issue enforcement actions,” Desmarais explained.

“A limited number of ECCC employees are authorized and trained to carry firearms in the context of their duties.”

Enforcement officers require “specialized tools” to perform their duties and “keep them safe,” Desmarais said. They also require facilities to house and secure the tools, the department said. 

Desmarais said officers routinely take witness statements when working on files and “so we have specially designed interview rooms for this purpose.”

Speaking about the facility’s “controlled quiet rooms,” the department said some offices include closed “quiet rooms” for work requiring a high degree of concentration. “Control” indicates that only employees with access can enter this secure area.

“Those specific areas are essential to the Enforcement’s integrity, security and operational efficiency for both investigative and inspection processes,” Desmarais said.

According to an Indeed job listing, the Ministry is searching to recruit Climate “Pollution” Officers under its “Environmental Enforcement Directorate.”

The department added that it’s currently hiring new officers to maintain its existing workforce.

The leak comes days after Environment Canada agents allegedly trespassed on Saskatchewan farmland. 

Landowners who confronted the federal agents were told agents were testing water in farmers’ dugouts to measure nitrate levels. ECCC said it was collecting samples in water bodies, but “no nitrates or other nutrients.”

Nitrogen levels in fertilizer are the newest target of Trudeau’s climate agenda. The Trudeau government recently announced a “voluntary” initiative to reduce fertilizer use on Canadian farms by 30%.

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