Alberta company fined $1.775 million for violating the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994

News release

January 3, 2019 – Fort McMurray, Alberta

Enforcing Canadian environmental and wildlife laws is one important way that Environment and Climate Change Canada is taking action to protect wildlife and nature.

On January 2, 2019, Syncrude Canada Ltd. pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of Alberta to one count of violating the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. Syncrude Canada Ltd. was sentenced to pay a fine of $1.775 million, which will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

On August 7, 2015, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s wildlife enforcement officers received a report of 31 deceased great blue herons that were exposed to bitumen at the Syncrude Canada Ltd. Mildred Lake facility. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s investigation confirmed 31 great blue herons were found in an abandoned sump, and 30 of the birds were deceased upon discovery.

Syncrude Canada Ltd. was charged with depositing a substance that is harmful to migratory birds or permitting the deposit of such a substance in waters or an area frequented by migratory birds or in a place from which the substance may enter such waters or such an area.

Syncrude Canada Ltd. also pleaded guilty to one charge under the provincial Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and was sentenced to pay a fine of $975,000. Further details regarding this fine may be obtained by contacting the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has created a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment.

Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) to anonymously report wildlife crimes. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000 from Crime Stoppers.

Quick facts

  • Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, Environment and Climate Change Canada is authorized to protect migratory birds, their nests, and populations and to regulate potentially harmful human activities that may impact them.

  • Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund follows the polluter pays principle and helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to repair environmental damage or benefit the environment. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements, usually investing in areas where the environmental damage occurred. This can include funding projects aimed at restoration and rehabilitation of the environment as well as environmental research, education, and awareness.

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