Top Penalties for Environmental Violations in 2011
TOP 5 PENALTIES AGAINST COMPANIES
1. $450,000 (QC)
Approximately 9,600 litres of sulphuric acid spilled on a factory’s roof through a vent and about 1,280 litres flowed into the stormwater system. In addition, while piping caustic soda to a tank truck, about 3,780 litres was spilled on the ground, some of which reached a river. The company involved in both incidents pleaded guilty to two environmental violations. The court fined it $270,000 for the first incident and $180,000 for the second [Rio Tinto Alcan, Govt. News Release, Dec. 17, 2010].
2. $450,000 (NWT)
A dyke holding back water in a reservoir at a power station breached, allowing water to flow into a lake and river system for 13 days, eroding 111,000 m3 of vegetation, earth and permafrost soil. The utility pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act. The court ordered it to pay a $25,000 fine and $425,000 to be used to promote conservation and the protection of fish and fish habitats in the Territories [R. v. Northwest Territories Power Corp.,  NWTTC 03 (CanLII), Jan. 19, 2011].
3. $325,000 (Fed)
Contaminated groundwater from a metal company’s facility leaked into a creek, which flowed directly into a river. In addition, there was a mercury spill into that river from one of the facility’s outfalls. The company resolved its Fisheries Act violations by agreeing to pay $325,000, $100,000 of which went to the Environmental Damages Fund, and implement various measures to better protect the environment [Teck Metals Ltd., Govt. News Release, May 13, 2011].
4. $275,000 (AB)
An energy company was charged with failing to follow the water management plan specified by its approval, including the requirement to properly manage stormwater. It pleaded guilty to one violation of the Water Act and was fined $275,000 [Suncor Energy Inc., Govt. News Release, April 15, 2011].
5. $230,000 (ON)
An organic waste receiver company permitted two discharges from a leachate and stormwater management pond that impacted a nearby creek and neighbouring farm fields. It also failed to comply with MOE orders. The company pleaded guilty to five violations and was fined $230,000. (In addition, the owner/director pleaded guilty to two EPA violations and was fined $7,500. And the site manager/director was fined $5,000) [Waterdown Garden Supplies Ltd., Wim Van Ravenswaay and Trevor Ducharme, Govt. News Release, April 18, 2011].
TOP FIVE PENALTIES AGAINST INDIVIDUALS
1. $55,200—Outfitter (AB)
A Fish and Wildlife investigation revealed that a former outfitter had guided 34 clients in areas where he wasn’t licensed to operate. A total of 35 animals were harvested, including black bears, moose and deer. He was convicted of environmental violations, fined $55,200, sentenced to four months’ jail and barred from having a recreational hunting licence, outfitter-guide permit or a Guide’s Designation for five years [Govt. News Release, Nov. 15, 2010].
The courts imposed $15,000 fines on:
- A resort director after about 4,000 litres of diesel were released from the resort’s above-ground storage tank into a river [Rivers Inlet Resort and Richard Shapland, Fed. Govt. News Release, Jan. 11, 2011].
- A fisherman for violating the Fisheries Act by releasing diesel fuel into a fish habitat and failing to report the spill [R. v. Bolt,  N.J. No. 47, Feb. 4, 2011].
- An environmental company employee for failing to cooperate with ministry inspectors [Marcelo Ponciano, ON Govt. News Release, June 27, 2011].
- A truck driver who dumped diesel fuel into a catch basin. The court also ordered him to pay restitution of more than $10,000 for property damage [Rehman Sheikh and Khalid Chaudry, ON Govt. News Release, May 16, 2011].
The courts imposed $10,000 fines on:
- The passenger of a truck who helped the driver dump diesel fuel into a catch basin [Rehman Sheikh and Khalid Chaudry, ON Govt. News Release, May 16, 2011].
- A company director after the company stored and dismantled ELV, a hazardous material, without a Certificate of Authorization [Transmetal and Bernard Villeneuve, QC Govt. News Release, Dec. 14, 2010].
4. $9,600—Hunter (NB)
An operation by conservation officers resulted in the seizure of 700 kg of moose meat and parts, cash and butcher shop equipment and the filing of about 50 violations against several individuals and businesses. Two men pleaded guilty to charges under the Fish and Wildlife Act. The court sentenced both to seven days’ jail and fined one $9,600 and the other $3,600 [Conrad Babineau and Antoine Babineau, Govt. News Release, June 20, 2011].
5. $9,000—Owner (Fed)
A waste disposal company exported several shipments of waste oil to the US after its export permit expired. The company’s owner pleaded guilty to four violations of the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations and one violation of the CEPA. The court fined him $4,000 and ordered him to pay $5,000 to the federal Environmental Damages Fund [Gene Baniulis, Govt. News Release, March 18, 2011].
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