Company found guilty of Fisheries Act violation in Lac-Mégantic derailment case

February 9, 2018 – Lac-Mégantic, Quebec

The incident in Lac-Mégantic, on July 6, 2013, highlights the far-reaching impact when laws are broken. In addition to the grave loss of life, the incident had a serious impact on our environment. Following the derailment, Environment and Climate Change Canada launched an investigation into allegations of environmental legislation violations.

On February 5, the company Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Canada Co. was found guilty, in the Court of Quebec, of unlawfully depositing or permitting the deposit of crude oil—a deleterious substance—into the Mégantic Lake and the Chaudière River—waters frequented by fish—contrary to the Fisheries Act.

Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Canada Co. was fined $1,000,000—an amount that will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund. The funds will be used to support projects focused on the Mégantic Lake and the Chaudière River, waters which were directly impacted by the spill of crude oil.

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

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.

Quick Facts

  • 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 (e.g. oil) into water frequented by fish.
  • The Environmental Damages Fund helps ensure that those who cause damage to the environment are held responsible for their actions. The money from pollution penalties and settlements is directly invested in areas where environmental damage occurred, to promote and fund projects aimed at environmental education and awareness as well as the restoration and rehabilitation of the environment.
  • In addition to the Fisheries Act finding, six of the accused pleaded guilty under the Railway Safety Act to one count of failing to ensure, after applying hand brakes, that a sufficient force was present to prevent the equipment from moving. Five of the six individuals accused were fined $50,000 each, the maximum fine provided under the Railway Safety Act. Another accused, the conductor of the freight train, was given a conditional sentence of six months’ imprisonment with strict conditions, the maximum provided by the Railway Safety Act.

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