The Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) is
again being used as a tool to protect migratory birds that are also
species at risk. In early April, Bergedac Ltée, and a
shareholder and employee of the company, were convicted and
fined a total of $12,000 for violating Migratory Birds
Convention Act, 1994 for the destruction of more than 40 Bank
Swallow nests in a sand pit located near Beaumont, Quebec. More
importantly, the court also ordered the company to ensure
compliance with the MBCA regulations related to its sand pits. It
further ordered that for a period of three years, the company must
develop habitat in its sand pits that is favourable to Bank Swallow
nesting. Bank Swallows are also listed as threatened under the Species at
Risk Act (SARA). There were no additional convictions under
Earlier in the year, we
reported on a significant conviction from last fall, where Canaport LNG
Facility paid penalties both under the MBCA and SARA totalling
SARA is a much more recent piece of legislation than the MBCA,
coming into force in 2002. Further to the Migratory Birds
Convention between Canada and the United States, the MBCA was
enacted in Canada in 1917. It was intended to address concerns
related to uncontrolled hunting of waterfowl and shore birds. In
it was adopted after the destruction of the once ubiquitous
passenger pigeon. Canada significantly updated the MBCA in 1994
with expanded enforcement and penalty provisions
On a search of the federal government's Environmental Offenders Registry, which
contains convictions for environmental laws since June 18, 2009,
there are only 10 convictions listed under the MBCA. That is about
¼ the number of convictions that have been successfully
brought under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, according
to data provided in the registry under the Canadian Environmental
Protection Act. No convictions are listed in the Environmental
Offenders Registry under SARA, though we know of at least one
conviction, specifically the Canaport conviction, from last fall.
With just two convictions in under six months, perhaps we are
beginning to see an upward trend in the use of the MBCA.
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