CN Rail has been fined $2.5 million for violating the Fisheries Act.
The railway pleaded guilty in Prince Rupert Provincial Court to a charge in relation to the deposit of pesticides in or around waters frequented by fish. The fine will be directed to the federal government’s Environmental Damages Fund.
On August 28, 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) enforcement officers observed a spray truck discharging a mist as it travelled along the rail corridor between Terrace and Prince Rupert in British Columbia. Because the rail corridor runs along the Skeena River and over many tributaries and wetlands, officers conducted an inspection to verify compliance with the Fisheries Act.
The subsequent inspection and investigation confirmed that the herbicides sprayed along the rail line were harmful to fish. The railway uses herbicides to keep vegetation away from the train tracks.
On May 27, 2021, CN Rail pleaded guilty to one violation under the provincial Integrated Pest Management Act.
As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.
ECCC is responsible for administering and enforcing the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, which prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances, such as pesticides, into water frequented by fish.
Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a federal program administered by ECCC. The Fund ensures that court–awarded penalties are used to support projects that will benefit the environment.