On December 20, 2016, Tidan Inc. and seven of its associated companies (“Tidan Group”) pled guilty to 52 charges under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (“CEPA”) relating to the improper management of PCB-containing electrical equipment and were fined $975,000. As part of its conviction, the Tidan Group will also be required to publish an article on the facts surrounding their violations and develop procedures to manage their electrical equipment for all their buildings. Tidan Group is also required to provide training for their managers and staff. Tidan Group is a major property management firm headquartered in Montreal.
The charges were filed under the PCB Regulations after an investigation was conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada (“ECCC”). The ECCC found that Tidan Group had not followed the environmental protection orders that had been issued by enforcement officers nor did it meet its obligations relating to the use, storage and disposal of electrical equipment containing PCBs.
PCBs are synthetic compounds having stable chemical properties that were historically used in electrical components until the 1970s. Because of their stable chemical properties, PCBs were used in products that required durability and resistance to heat and light. PCBs were never manufactured in Canada but were used throughout the country. Although there is some equipment containing PCBs still in use, the manufacturing, processing, importing and offering for sale of PCBs has been prohibited in Canada since 1977.
The PCB Regulations came into effect in 2008 and impose strict rules on equipment containing PCBs that are in use and storage to reduce releases of PCBs into the natural environment. The PCB Regulations include specific deadlines to end the use of PCBs in concentrations above 50mg/kg and to eliminate all PCBs and equipment containing PCBs currently in storage and impose limits on the period of time that PCBs can be stored prior to their destruction. The PCB regulations also require labelling and reporting requirements and impose sound practices on the management of PCBs that continue to be is use (those with a content of less than 50 mg/kg).
The fine is paid into the Environmental Damages Fund administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada.