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1197338 Ontario Inc. was fined $150,000 plus the 25% Victim Fine Surcharge for failing to comply with a Director’s Order to clean up a spill of PCBs; its president, Lawrence Brander was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the same offence.  But why did the spill occur?According to the Ministry of the Environment, the court heard that the company owns a waste storage site in Wallaceburg and that Mr. Brander is the president. In November 2008, Mr. Brander had called the ministry to report that a transformer had been vandalized and a quantity of PCB-laden oil had leaked from the transformer and had soaked into the ground. The vandal appears to have been unknown. MOE responded by ordering both the company and Mr. Brander to cleanup the spill. The four orders had work items that were required to be completed by specified dates. Neither the company or Mr. Brander complied with any of the required work items within the specified time frames or thereafter.

It is not uncommon for the Ministry to impose cleanup orders on property owners and their officers/directors in these circumstances. Mr. Brander appealed the Orders to the Environmental Review Tribunal, arguing that his company did not own the transformer or its PCBs, and should not have been required to pay for its cleanup. The ERT rejected this argument and upheld the Orders, since Mr. Brander’s company undoubtedly owned the land where the spill occurred.

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