Irving fined $3.5-million for Fisheries Act offences; commits to new effluent treatment

On November 5, 2018, Irving Pulp & Paper Ltd. was sentenced in the New Brunswick Provincial Court in Saint John, NB, and ordered to pay a $C3.5-million penalty in connection with three offences under the pollution prevention provisions of the federal Fisheries Act. The company pleaded guilty on October 9, 2018.

The fine is one of the largest penalties to be levied in Canada as a result of an environmental violation. Of the total fine, $2.34 million will go to the federal Environmental Damages Fund. The remaining $1.16 million will go to the University of New Brunswick for use by its Canadian Rivers Institute for scientific research and support projects related to the conservation, protection, and restoration of Atlantic salmon in New Brunswick.

The company must also provide a plan that clearly identifies the interim measures to be taken and describes how it will work toward commissioning a new effluent treatment system. Irving has committed to a major investment in the new effluent treatment facility within the next five years. It has already provided a fiveyear plan to Environment and Climate Change Canada, describing timelines and information pertaining to various conventional treatment systems and is required to provide progress reports twice a year.

The charges stem from several incidents between June 2014 and August 2016 when improperly treated and deleterious effluent was released from one of three outfall structures which deposit into the Saint John River. The discharges were reported to Environment and Climate Change Canada by the company, as is required under the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations.

As a result of this conviction, Irving Pulp & Paper Limited will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry, which contains information on convictions of corporations under certain federal environmental laws.

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