Inside Logistics

Company fined for fertilizer spill in St. Lawrence

Compagnie d'Arrimage de Québec Ltée pleaded guilty to charges relating to 2017 spill at Port of Quebec

January 25, 2021

On January 21, 2021, the Compagnie d’Arrimage de Québec Ltée pleaded guilty in the Court of Quebec in the District of Québec to one count of contravening the Fisheries Act.

The company was fined $100,000. In addition to the fine, the Court ordered the company to pay an amount of $575,000. These amounts will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

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

On December 10, 2017, the Compagnie d’Arrimage de Québec Ltée, while unloading a ship at the Port of Québec, failed to take all necessary measures to prevent the discharge of an estimated 500 kilograms of fertilizer into the St. Lawrence River, contrary to the provisions of subsection 38(6) of the Fisheries Act.

This is not the first time the cargo handling company has been in trouble with the law. In 2017 it was convicted of income tax fraud and fined $646,516. The company pleaded guilty to making false declarations to the Canada Revenue Agency between 2009 and 2014. Invoices related to the construction of a house for the president were claimed as business expenses.

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 into waters frequented by fish.

Environment and Climate Change Canada administers the Environmental Damages Fund, which is a Government of Canada program that was created in 1995. The Fund follows the polluter pays principle and ensures that court–awarded penalties are used for projects that will benefit the environment.