SAINT JOHN, NB, Nov. 5, 2018 (CNW) -The effective and strict enforcement of Canadian environmental and wildlife protection legislation is one way that Environment and Climate Change Canada meets its commitment to maintaining clean air and water and protecting wildlife and their habitats.
On November 5, 2018, Irving Pulp & Paper Limited was sentenced in the New Brunswick Provincial Court in Saint John and ordered to pay a $3.5 million penalty in connection with three offences under the pollution prevention provisions of the federal Fisheries Act. The company pleaded guilty on October 9, 2018.
The fine is one of the largest penalties to be levied in Canada as a result of an environmental violation. Of the total fine, $2.34 million will be directed to the Government of Canada's Environmental Damages Fund. The remaining $1.16 million will be directed to the University of New Brunswick, with the funds to be used by the University's Canadian Rivers Institute to conduct scientific research and support projects related to the conservation, protection, and restoration of Atlantic salmon in New Brunswick.
In addition to the penalty, the company is now under a direction pursuant to the Fisheries Act. Under the direction, the company is required to provide a plan that clearly identifies the interim measures to be taken and describes how the company will work toward the commissioning of a new effluent treatment system. The company has committed to a major investment in constructing the new effluent treatment facility within the next five years. Irving Pulp & Paper Limited has already provided a five-year plan to Environment and Climate Change Canada, describing timelines and information pertaining to various conventional treatment systems and is required to provide progress reports twice per year.
The charges stem from several incidents that occurred between June 2014 and August 2016, when improperly treated and deleterious effluent was released from one of three outfall structures, all of which deposit into the Saint John River. The discharges were reported to Environment and Climate Change Canada by the company, as is required under the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations.
As a result of this conviction, Irving Pulp & Paper Limited will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry, which contains information on convictions of corporations under certain federal environmental laws.
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- The Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations require that a pulp and paper mill owner or operator regularly monitor mill effluent and report the results to the designated Environment and Climate Change Canada authorization officer. The Regulations also require that the mill owner or operator notify without delay an Environment and Climate Change Canada appointed inspector of any effluent test results that indicate a failure or non-compliance with the Regulations.
- A direction is a compliance tool that may be used by an enforcement officer to initiate remedial or preventative action to be taken by an alleged offender. For example, a direction may be issued when there is a deposit of a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish or when there is serious and imminent danger of such an incident and immediate action is necessary.
- The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. It was created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment.