$105,000 Fine for Failing to Comply

Written by on December 04, 2017. Posted in Waste

On November 24, 2017, the sole Director and Chief Executive Officer of Copper Cliff Metals and Wrecking Corp. pled guilty to one offence under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) for failing to comply with a Court Order.

The corporation operated an approved waste disposal site in the Regional Municipality of Niagara. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) issued an order requiring the corporation and the Director to remove waste situated on the property. This MOECC order was not complied with resulting in charges against both the individual director and the corporation.

The MOECC, as part of the conviction, issued a section 190 Court Order against the Director and corporation requiring the removal of a specific waste pile from the property. The section 190 Court Order also required the waste to be properly disposed of and that the defendants provide documentation and proof of the removal.

The individual and corporation pled guilty to one offence under the EPA. The defendants were fined a total of $105,000 plus the 25% victim fine surcharge of $26,250 and given a period of 30 days to pay.

Section 190 Court Orders can be imposed either in addition, or as an alternative, to more conventional penalties such as fines. The section 190 Court Order provides an opportunity for the defendants to “work off” a penalty that would have otherwise been imposed as a fine.

The MOECC indicated in R. v. Imperial Oil Ltd.[1] that section 190 does not authorize a court order requiring a defendant to make a donation to a third party. In this case, an order that the defendant pay $5,000 to two local school boards for student awareness water pollution programmes was set aside. Practically however the same result could be achieved in a plea bargain where the defendant makes a “voluntary” donation to an appropriate cause prior to sentencing. Where the donation is voluntary both the court and the sentencing judge typically take the donation into consideration and offset it against the fine that would have otherwise been imposed.

In the case of R v. Diamond Stonebridge Contracting Holdings Ltd.[2], the Crown requested the court determine the fine that would be appropriate and then to increase the quantum if the penalty were donated to the community rather than paid to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The Crown argued that the defendant may obtain some tax advantages from making a community contribution. The court held that such an increase would be inappropriate and that community contributions were both more creative and more responsible than the payment of a fine.

It should be noted that breach of judge’s order is contempt of court.

[1] (1997), 35 W.C.B. (2d) 501 (Ont. C.A)

[2] Un-reported April 2, 1993, Ont. Off. Ct.