EllisDon Construction Services Inc. ordered to pay $100,000 for violating the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994

News release

October 18, 2021 – Calgary, Alberta

Wildlife enforcement officers work across the country, enforcing the laws and regulations that protect and conserve wildlife and its habitat. This work aims to reduce threats and damage to biodiversity for the benefit of Canadians and all living things.

On October 4, 2021, EllisDon Construction Services Inc. was sentenced in the Provincial Court of Alberta in Calgary after pleading guilty to one count of violating section 6(a) of the Migratory Birds Regulations pursuant to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA, 1994). The offences relate to disturbing migratory bird nests without a permit during the course of their work at the West Calgary Ring Road project site in June 2019.

EllisDon Construction Services Inc. was ordered to pay a mandatory minimum fine of $100,000. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. In addition to the fine, EllisDon Construction Services Inc. has been ordered by the court to develop educational material on migratory birds for staff and subcontractors to review on‑site during staff orientation.

On June 10, 2019, a member of the public discovered bird boxes on the ground and heard chirping. After the bird boxes were reattached to fence posts, it was confirmed that Tree Swallows, a protected migratory bird species, were actively using seven of these nest boxes. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) enforcement officers responded to the complaint from a member of the public by conducting an inspection on an EllisDon worksite, which led to an investigation. During the site inspection, enforcement officers determined that approximately seven bird boxes had been taken down and subsequently reattached to the fence posts. The officers also observed several Tree Swallows flying around the site and accessing the bird boxes.

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

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

Quick facts

  • ECCC is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, an Act that provides for the protection of migratory birds, their nests, and populations, and for the regulation of potentially harmful human activities that may affect them.

  • Nesting boxes for migratory birds are an important tool in providing a safe and secure habitat during the nesting season. ECCC provides general guidelines on how to reduce risk to migratory birds.

  • Mandatory minimum fines came into force for the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 on July 12, 2017. Any offences occurring after this date are subject to these minimums. Minimum fines have been set to reflect the seriousness of environmental offences.

  • Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by ECCC. The Fund ensures that fines and court-awarded penalties are used to support projects that will benefit the environment.

Associated links


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