$900,000 Odour Fine – London Facility
On October 26, 2017 Orgaworld Canada Ltd. was convicted of nine (9) offences under the Environmental Protection Act and fined $900,000 plus the 25% victim fine surcharge. Orgaworld was given a period of three (3) months to pay the fine.
The conviction related to two separate investigations conducted by the Ministry of the Environmental and Climate Change (“MOECC”) relating to the discharge of odours from the Orgaworld facility located in London, Ontario. Orgaworld was convicted of nine counts of discharging an odour, being a contaminant, and fined $100,000 for each offence.
The MOECC also issued an order to Orgaworld only allowing it to operate at 30% capacity in order to reduce odours.
This is not the first fine for Orgaworld who has a history of violations spanning a period of more than five years. On June 16, 2014 the Company pled guilty to discharging odours resulting in an adverse effect and was fined $250,000 plus the 25% victim fine surcharge.
On March 26, 2013 Orgaworld and its manager were fined for failing to comply with a MOECC approval. This charge also arose as a result of odours emanating from the facility. Orgaworld was fined $37,000 plus the victim fine surcharge and the manager fined $7,500 plus the victim fine surcharge.
Orgaworld was also fined $60,000 plus the victim fine surcharge for odour incidents in September 2011.
Odour issues are complex and difficult for companies to effectively manage. As discussed in the case of Pyke v. Tri-Gro by the Court of Appeal for Ontario:
- The human nose is a very sensitive and very subjective instrument
According to the expert witness:
- The establishment of effective odour control measures is complicated by the fact that there is an absence of a direct relationship between the concentration and perceived intensity of odours for humans.
- A considerable reduction in concentration of the odour-production chemical(s) may be required in order to provide a recognizable change in perceived odour intensity.
With this subjectivity associated with odour complaints we question whether or not it is reasonable for the MOECC to pursue prosecutions for odour offences in circumstances where the MOECC may be relying on subjective information.