On April 6, 2016, Jaret Bousfield was convicted under the Environmental Protection
Act for permitting the discharge of road salt that caused or was
likely to cause damage to a neighbour's mature cedar trees.
Bousfield pleaded guilty to the charge, and was fined $5,000, plus
the 25% victim fine surcharge. In addition, he also paid $16,000 in
restitution to his neighbour for the damaged trees.
Mr. Bousfield was storing road salt at his property within a
non-waterproof structure, next to his neighbour's property. The
neighbour had a row of tall, mature cedar trees along the property
line. Many turned brown, and those next to the salt storage
structure were affected by water runoff. Following investigation by
the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
("MOECC"), the defendant was charged.
We have written a lot about tree issues over the years, but this
is the first prosecution we are aware of under the
section 14 of the Environmental Protection Act related to tree
damage from polluting activities. Tree damage cases are otherwise
litigated through civil
claims for trespass and the destruction of a trees. Other tree
cases relate to "boundary tree" disputes between
neighbours. These have recently been tried in courts in contrasting
and confusing ways (see our blogs
Prior to this prosecution, we would not have expected a lot of
action from the MOECC on harm caused to trees by polluting
activities. However, it makes sense for the MOECC to prosecute
these kinds of pollution offences. Salt is a significant
contaminant and harmful to the natural environment. In this article from the Smithsonian, the authors note
that salt used to keep roadways safe "has to go
"After it dissolves—and issplit into sodium and
chloride ions—it gets carried away via runoff and depositedinto both surface water
(streams, lakes and rivers) and the groundwater under our
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
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