A gas station operating on a First Nations Reserve in Duck Lake,
Saskatchewan was ordered to pay $25,000 for failing to comply
with Environment Canada enforcement orders.
Blackhawk's Gas, owned by a numbered company, had failed to
take specific measures relating to sections of the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products
and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations under the
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA, 1999). The station was fined an
additional $2,000 for failing to have a compliant emergency plan
and for failing to perform required inspections. The court also
ordered the station to perform an environmental audit, repair any
deficiencies, and to prepare an adequate emergency plan. The
conviction is notable because it serves as a reminder of the
recently raised minimum fines set under CEPA 1999, as amended by
the Environmental Enforcement Act (EEA).
The EEA amended nine federal environmental laws, including CEPA
1999, and introduced a new fine scheme that was intended to
"more accurately reflect the seriousness of environmental
offences." The new fine scheme as it applies to CEPA offences
first came into force on June 22, 2012. Under the scheme,
individuals will face minimum fines of $5,000 for most serious
offences, small corporations (defined under s. 272.3 of CEPA 1999 as those which a court
determines to have gross revenues of not more than $5,000,000 for
the 12 months immediately before the day on which the subject
matter of the proceedings arose) will be fined a minimum of
$25,000, and larger corporations will be fined a minimum of
$100,000. All fines are doubled for second and subsequent
Under the scheme, courts may impose a fine less than the minimum
amount provided in the EEA if the minimum fine would "cause
undue financial hardship," but the court must order offenders
to pay an additional fine "equal to any benefit, advantage or
property gained as a result of the offence." All fines are
directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, which is a fund
that was created by Environment Canada in 1995 to provide a
mechanism for directing the payment of fines for the repair of
actual harm done to the environment.
As a result of the conviction, the numbered company, which owns
the station, will be added to the federal Environmental Offenders Registry, which
contains information on convictions of corporations relating to
violations of certain federal environmental laws. The registry has
been collecting information on convictions of corporations since
June 18, 2009, when the EEA received Royal Assent.
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