Ontario construction companies fined $20,000 for violating the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994

London, Ontario – August 15, 2018 – Environment and Climate Change Canada

Enforcing Canadian environmental and wildlife laws is one important way that Environment and Climate Change Canada is taking action to protect wildlife and nature.

On July 27, 2018, 1926705 Ontario Inc. (operating as AAR-CON Excavating) and M.T. Johnstone Construction Ltd. each pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to two counts of violations of the Migratory Birds Regulations, made pursuant to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. The companies were each sentenced to pay $10,000 in fines. The total $20,000 penalty will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

AAR-CON Excavating and M.T. Johnstone Construction Ltd. each pleaded guilty to one count of violating subsection 5(1) of the regulations, for unlawfully hunting migratory birds. In addition, each company pleaded guilty to one count of violating paragraph 6(a) of the regulations, for destroying migratory bird nests.

On May 31, 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada received a complaint that approximately 100 bank swallow nests had been destroyed at a residential construction project in Mount Brydges, Ontario. An enforcement officer attended the site to conduct an inspection and determine if the construction work was being carried out in compliance with the Migratory Bird Regulations. The officer observed a freshly excavated soil berm with numerous bank swallows flying in and out of more than 30 remaining nest shelter entrance holes in the berm.

Under the Migratory Birds Regulations, it is prohibited to hunt a migratory bird as well as attempt to kill, capture, injure, or harass a migratory bird in any manner. The Regulations also prohibit destruction, removal, or disturbance of migratory bird eggs, nests, and nest shelters without a permit. Permits are available only under specific circumstances.

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.

Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) to anonymously report on wildlife crimes. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000 from Crime Stoppers.

Quick facts

  • Over the last 40 years, Canada has lost 98 percent of its bank swallow population.
  • On November 2, 2017, the Bank Swallow was listed in the Species at Risk Act as a threatened species in Canada, likely to become endangered if actions are not taken to reverse the factors leading to its extinction.
  • Bank swallows nest in burrows dug into exposed soil banks near ponds, rivers, sand pits, quarries, and some construction sites with these features. To reduce the risk of damaging or destroying a bank swallow nest, it is recommended that persons conducting work near potential nesting areas avoid scheduling excavation or construction activities during the spring and summer nesting season.
  • The Environmental Damages Fund helps turn environmental harm into environmental good. In the spirit of the “polluter pays” principle, those who cause environmental damage or harm to wildlife are required to take responsibility for their actions. The Fund provides an effective mechanism to respond to environmental damage by directing funds received from fines, court orders, and voluntary payments, from environmental violations, to carry out projects that benefit our natural environment.

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