FortisAlberta Inc. fined $300,000 for contravening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the PCB Regulations

Hinton, Alberta – August 16, 2018 – Environment and Climate Change Canada

The effective and strict enforcement of Canadian environmental and wildlife protection legislation is one way that Environment and Climate Change Canada meets its commitment to maintaining clean air and water and protecting wildlife and their habitats.

On August 15, 2018, FortisAlberta Inc. (FortisAlberta) was ordered by the Provincial Court of Alberta to pay a fine of $300,000 after pleading guilty to one count of violating the PCB Regulations and one count of violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The charges stem from the company’s release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the environment and its failure to promptly notify an enforcement officer or other designated person of the release. The fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

On May 12, 2016, FortisAlberta reported that one of their transformers, located in the town of Hinton, had leaked oil containing PCBs. An investigation conducted by enforcement officers found that FortisAlberta discovered staining around the transformer, on October 19, 2015, and that the transformer failed on April 19, 2016, due to a lack of oil, and a fresh oil release was found. On April 22, 2016, FortisAlberta became aware that the transformer contained PCBs. Testing results showed that approximately 325 litres of oil containing 3.61 grams of PCBs were released into the environment.

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Quick facts

  • PCBs are toxic industrial chemical substances that are harmful to aquatic ecosystems and the species that feed primarily on aquatic organisms. PCBs are very persistent in the environment and in the living tissue of humans and animals. Scientific data suggests they are probable human carcinogens, and they are toxic to fish at low concentrations.
  • The Department’s enforcement officers conduct inspections and investigations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. They strive to ensure that regulated organizations are in compliance with environmental legislation.
  • As a result of this conviction, FortisAlberta will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry, which contains information on convictions of corporations under certain federal environmental laws.
  • The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. It was created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to be directed to projects that will benefit our natural environment.

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