$75,000 of $225,000 Penalty for Spill to Go to Impacted First Nation


Employees at a pulp and paper mill found a break in a pipeline, which caused about 47 million litres of untreated pulp and paper effluent to flow into a wetland area where it pooled before discharging into the adjacent East River/Pictou Harbor. The mill pleaded guilty to unlawfully depositing or permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish in violation of the Fisheries Act. At sentencing, the Pictou Landing First Nation presented evidence of the spill’s impact on its territory and the community. The court noted that the mill had no prior environmental offences and took responsibility for its actions. Despite the size of the spill, the impact on the environment was temporary. But the impact on the sense of safety and security of the Pictou Landing First Nation was profound, added the court. So the court ordered the mill to pay $225,000 to the federal Environmental Damages Fund, with $75,000 going to the Pictou Landing First Nation to be used for the conservation and protection of fish or fish habitat or the restoration of fish habitat in waters fished by that community [R. v. Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corp., [2016] NSPC 29 (CanLII), May 11, 2016].