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Food Manufacturer fined $230,000 for Ontario Water Resources Act and Environmental Protection Act Violations

Archived Court Bulletin

Food Manufacturer fined $230,000 for Ontario Water Resources Act and Environmental Protection Act Violations

Convicted - Sun-Brite Foods Inc.

Location - Windsor

Description of Offence -  The conviction relates to permitting the discharge of process water into the Melville Bruner Drain extension, which may have impaired the quality of the water, failing to notify the ministry, and failing to comply with the terms of a ministry issued Amended Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA).

Date of Offence - during the period beginning on or about September 18, 2015 and ending on or about September 28, 2015.

Date of Conviction - January 17, 2018

Penalty Imposed - Sun-Brite Foods Inc. was convicted of two offences under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA), and one offence under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), was fined a total of $230,000 plus Victim Fine Surcharge (VFS) of $57,500 and was given one year to pay the fine.

Background - 

  • Sun-Brite Foods Inc. (Sun-Brite) operates a facility on County Road 34 in Kingsville, canning foods including vegetables and tomatoes.
  • On September 18th 2015, the ministry received several complaints regarding a sewer odour in a Kingsville municipal drain. In response, ministry staff attended the site to inspect the drain.
  • During the inspection of the Highway #3 municipal drain, ministry staff observed a flowing discharge that was black-grey in colour, warm and had a sulphur odour. Samples were taken and were tested for toxicity and general chemistry. Results indicated that the waters were toxic for Daphnia Magna and Trout, and were therefore impaired by the discharge.
  • The ministry's Spills Action Centre (SAC) was notified, and SAC advised that no spill had been reported to them directly.
  • The company was notified and Sun-Brite representatives attended the site.  One representative confirmed that the company had been having issues with their wastewater plant.
  • Ministry staff asked the company to stop all discharges immediately, and to commence clean-up, which they did.
  • The incident was referred to the ministry's Investigations and Enforcement Branch, resulting in charges and a conviction through a guilty plea.

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