Black Lake Denesuline First Nation fined under the Fisheries Act for failing to report a spill
April 19, 2021 – Black Lake, Saskatchewan – Environment and Climate Change Canada
The Government of Canada enforces the laws that protect Canada’s air, water, and natural environment, and we take pollution incidents and threats to the environment very seriously.
On April 16, 2021, in La Ronge Provincial Court, the Black Lake Denesuline First Nation was ordered to pay $10,000 after pleading guilty to one offence under the Fisheries Act. The total fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. In addition to the fine, Black Lake Denesuline First Nation was ordered to write an article about what occurred for distribution to northern print media outlets, to develop an up-to-date emergency plan, and develop and implement a preventative maintenance plan for their water and wastewater treatment systems.
On February 3, 2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada was notified by provincial authorities of an ongoing sewage release at Black Lake Denesuline First Nation, which is located in Northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin region. A subsequent investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers determined that Black Lake Denesuline First Nation failed to notify officials of the release of approximately 86,000 litres of sewage. Black Lake provides drinking water to the community of Black Lake Denesuline First Nation, and contains a number of fish species including walleye, yellow perch, northern pike and arctic grayling.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, which prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.
- Under the Fisheries Act, all persons having the charge, management or control of a deleterious substance or of activities that result in a deposit of a deleterious substance into fish-bearing water must notify officials of an unauthorized deposit, without delay, if detriment to fish or fish habitat results or is reasonably likely to result from an unauthorized deposit.
- Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund ensures that court-awarded penalties are used to support projects with positive environmental impacts.
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