Environment Canada

Environment Canada

May 25, 2009 16:46 ET

Environment Canada: Canadian National Railway Convicted in Environmental Enforcement Cases in Alberta and British Columbia

STONY PLAIN, ALBERTA and NORTH VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 25, 2009) - Canadian National Railway Company (CN) pleaded guilty to charges pursuant to the federal Fisheries Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. The charges stem from train derailments at Wabamun Lake, Alberta on August 3, 2005, where there was a release of heavy fuel oil (HFO 7102) and pole treating oil into the lake, and near Squamish, British Columbia on August 5, 2005, which resulted in a spill of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) into the Cheakamus River.

In Provincial Court in Stony Plain, Alberta, CN pleaded guilty to one count of depositing a substance harmful to migratory birds in water frequented by migratory birds pursuant to subsection 5.1(1) of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, as well as one count of harmful alteration, disruption, or destruction of fish habitat in violation of subsection 35(1) of the Fisheries Act. In Provincial Court in North Vancouver, British Columbia, CN pleaded guilty to one count of depositing a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish pursuant to subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act.

In Alberta, CN received a $600,000 penalty, to be paid to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton, a shelter that provides care for injured and orphaned wildlife with the ultimate goal of returning animals to their natural habitat. CN also received a $400,000 penalty to be paid to support a number of fisheries and fish habitat related projects in Northern Alberta.

In British Columbia, CN received a penalty of $400,000, which includes a fine of $50,000 and an order to pay $350,000 for projects in the Squamish River watershed. In addition, CN has been ordered to contribute environmental sensitivity mapping information along its right-of-way in both provinces to Environment Canada. This information is to be used to enhance emergency response in the event of a railway spill.

The charges in Alberta were a result of a joint investigation by Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The charges in British Columbia were a result of a joint investigation by Environment Canada and the BC Conservation Officer Service, Ministry of Environment.

(Egalement offert en francais)


The Government of Canada is responsible for the conservation and protection of Canada's sea coast and inland fisheries.

Environment Canada's Enforcement Officers and Fisheries and Oceans Fisheries Officers investigate alleged offences under a number of Acts and Regulations including the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and the pollution provisions of the federal Fisheries Act.

Environment Canada works with its partner agencies, such as Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment, to ensure effective enforcement of Canada's pollution prevention laws and to ensure that companies, government employees and the public comply with legislation and regulations that protect Canada's environment.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is committed to the protection of fish and fish habitat, and ensures the long-term viability and sustainable development of aquatic ecosystems in Canada.

Contact Information

  • Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Linda Deger