Imperial Oil Resources NWT Ltd. today pleaded guilty in Territorial Court to federal charges of releasing a harmful substance into fish-bearing waters, and violating conditions of its water license. The company was fined a total of $185,000.
The plea was entered on one count under the federal Fisheries Act s. 36(3), and relates to the release of NALCO 7390 (a substance used to reduce corrosion) into the Mackenzie River between October 4 and November 2, 2009. The company was fined $5,000 for the offence and was also ordered to pay $155,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) to be used to promote the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat in the Sahtu Region of the NWT.
The company also pleaded guilty to one count under the Northwest Territories Waters Act, a federal statute enforced by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). The fine of $25,000 was assessed on a charge of violating conditions of the water license, contrary to section 40(2)(a) of the NWT Waters Act for the same release of the NALCO 7390 substance.
Administered by Environment Canada, the Environmental Damages Fund gives courts a way to guarantee that the money from pollution penalties and settlements is directly invested to repair the actual harm done to wildlife and the environment.
Environment Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada enforcement officers investigated together and jointly laid the charges.