Prince Edward Island farming company sentenced for 2014 Fisheries Act violation linked to fish kill

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – December 20, 2018 – Environment and Climate Change Canada

Canadians value a safe and clean environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers strive to ensure individuals and companies are respecting Canadian environmental laws.

On December 12, Brookfield Gardens Inc. was sentenced to pay a $15K penalty for depositing a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish, an offence under the Fisheries Act. The company was found guilty in Charlottetown Provincial Court on September 7, 2018, after a three-day trial in July.

In August 2014, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) Enforcement Officers and officials from the Prince Edward Island Government responded to a fish kill incident in North River, North Milton. A total of 1,155 dead fish were collected in a 3.8-km section of the North River. The affected fish included brook trout, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon and sticklebacks.

The ECCC-led investigation determined that a rainfall event on August 6 and 7, 2014, caused a significant amount of runoff from a carrot field to be deposited into the North River. Laboratory results confirmed that the runoff contained chlorothalonil, diazinon and linuron, which are pesticides that are deleterious, or harmful, to fish.

In the reasons for the September 7, 2018, guilty verdict, the judge noted that a major rainfall was a reasonably predictable event. The judge accepted the testimony of an expert witness whose opinion was that the damage could have been prevented by taking proper steps. The judge highlighted one preventative measure that could have been taken, which was to not plant row crops when the environmental risk could not be properly addressed.

The total $15K fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund (EDF). As a result of the conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Quick facts

  • Brookfield Gardens Inc. was acquitted of the same charge in 2015. The Crown appealed the decision and a new trial was ordered. The company then appealed this decision; however, the decision to hold a new trial was upheld.
  • 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, or harmful, substances into water frequented by fish.
  • Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund follows the Polluter Pays Principle and helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to repair environmental damage or benefit the environment. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements, usually investing in areas where the environmental damage occurred. This can include funding projects aimed at restoration and rehabilitation of the environment, as well as environmental research, education and awareness.
  • The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.


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