Quebec businessman fined $77,000 after pleading guilty to four counts of violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act
July 8, 2019 – Laval, Quebec
Canadians value a safe and clean environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada's enforcement officers work hard every day to make sure individuals and companies are observing Canada's federal environmental laws.
On July 5, 2019, Serge Forest, owner of the dry cleaning company 9042-6560 Québec Inc., operating as Net Escompte-Serge Daoust in Laval, was sentenced and ordered to pay a penalty of $77,000. He pleaded guilty to four counts of violating the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. He also pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an environmental protection compliance order issued by an enforcement officer under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The entire amount of the fine will be directed to the Government of Canada's Environmental Damages Fund.
In addition to the fine, the court made an order under subsection 291(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The order stipulates that Serge Forest must:
- refrain from engaging in any activity that may result in the continuation or repetition of the offence;
- publish, within six months after the judgment, an article on the facts relating to the offence in Fabricare Canada magazine and provide proof of publication to Environment and Climate Change Canada;
- display the magazine article in the window of his business for a period of 12 months following publication;
- complete Seneca College's Dry Cleaners Environmental Management Training Course within 18 months after the judgment and provide proof of successful completion to Environment and Climate Change Canada;
- design and implement training for his employees, develop a safe procedure for using and handling tetrachloroethylene, and provide Environment and Climate Change Canada with a copy of the procedure as well as the date and names of the employees trained as soon as possible; and
- within two months after the judgment, bring into compliance the dry cleaning machine used in the offences committed under the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting) Regulations and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, unless he decides to dispose of it voluntarily. Environment and Climate Change Canada shall be informed in advance of the persons selected to conduct the inspection and a copy of the inspection report shall be submitted to them. If necessary, corrections shall be made and confirmation sent to the Department.
The charges were laid after an inspection of the company's premises in October 2016, during which Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers found violations of the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting) Regulations. The offences identified involve the storage and disposal of tetrachloroethylene waste and the maintenance, conservation and production of records in relation to dry cleaning activities. To remedy these offences, a compliance order was issued. However, Mr. Serge Forest did not comply with it.
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Tetrachloroethylene, or PERC, is a dry cleaning solvent, and it is designated as a toxic substance, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. It can enter the environment through the atmosphere, where it can damage plants and find its way into groundwater.
The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund was created in 1995 to provide a way to direct funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that benefit our environment.
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