A $2.5 million fine has been ordered against Canadian National Railway Company (CN Rail) after the organization pleaded guilty to a Fisheries Act violation, in the Prince Rupert Court, on Sept. 15.
The multimillion-dollar fine stems from an Aug. 28, 2017, offence when Environment and Climate Change Canada officers witnessed a spray truck discharging mist as it travelled along the Prince Rupert to Terrace rail corridor. Due to the rail tracks running along the Skeena River, near many tributaries and wetlands, officers conducted an inspection to ascertain compliance with the Fishers Act. The investigation revealed pesticides harmful to fish had been sprayed along the rail line.
As a result of the investigation, CN Rail was charged with violating Fisheries Act s. 36 (3) in relation to the deposit of pesticides in or around waters frequented by fish.
The charges and subsequent guilty plea will result in CN Rail being listed on the Environmental Offenders Registry. The offenders’ registry contains information on the convictions of corporations that have committed environmental offences under certain federal laws.
The $2.5 million fine is directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.
On May 27 of this year, related to the same incident, CN Rail was also fined $100,000 after pleading guilty to one violation under the provincial Integrated Pest Management Act, for failing to obtain the required authorization to apply pesticide to the rail tracks.
The provincial fine was directed to Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for fish, wildlife, and habitat restoration in the Skeena region in the amount of $95,000.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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