Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

September 27, 2013 11:00 ET

Ontario Ministry of Transportation to Pay 250K for Federal Fisheries Act Violations

SUNDRIDGE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 27, 2013) - On September 24, 2013, Carillion Canada Inc. and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation each pled guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to violating two counts of the federal Fisheries Act: one count of violating Section 35(1) for "the harmful alteration, disruption, or destruction of fish habitat"; and one count of violating Section 36(3) for "depositing or permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish."

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has been ordered to pay a total penalty of $250,000. Penalties for Carillion Canada have not yet been finalized.

The violations stem from repeated sediment spills, and the subsequent destruction of fish habitat in Stirling Creek, part of the the Magnetawan River watershed near Parry Sound, as a result of construction activities along Highway 11 between Burk's Falls and Sundridge during years 2010 and 2011.

Following a full investigation by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, charges were laid against Carillion Canada Inc., and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. The charges followed the repeated deposits of sediment into the Magnetawan River watershed due to insufficient sediment and erosion control measures.

The Stirling Creek system is home to Brook Trout, as well as many other fish and aquatic species, which comprise the basis of an important recreational fishery in the area. The sediment deposits had a significant impact on the fish and fish habitat in this system.

Of the penalty, $225,000 will be directed towards the Environmental Damages Fund. This fund is open to individuals and interest groups to support projects that restore the natural environment and conserve wildlife, with priority going to the geographic region where the original incident occurred. The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment Canada, and applications can be found online. The Fund was created to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment. The remaining $25,000 is the court fine.

The next scheduled court date has been set for October 8th to deal with remaining issues.

The Government of Canada is committed to safeguarding the long-term health and productivity of Canada's fisheries resources, and the habitat that supports them, for generations to come. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a mandate to protect and conserve marine resources and to prosecute offenders under the Fisheries Act. It ensures and promotes compliance with the Act and other laws and regulations through a combination of land, air, and sea patrols, as well education and awareness activities.

For more information on the Environmental Damages Fund, please visit: www.ec.gc.ca/edf-fde

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