Waste Processing Company Fines Increased to $170,000 for Environmental Protection Act Violations
Convicted - Quantex Technologies Inc.
Court Location - Kitchener Court
Description of Offence - In two separate matters, Quantex was convicted of violations related to permitting waste to pass from its control without accurately completing a manifest, for transferring waste subject to land disposal restrictions without giving notice to the receiver, and for permitting the emission of an air contaminant to an extent that it may cause personal discomfort.
Date of Offence - On or about January 20, 2016 and August 15, 2016.
Date of Conviction - June 26, 2018, with sentence varied on appeal on September 26, 2019.
Penalty Imposed - On September 26, 2019, the Ontario Court of Justice granted the Crown's appeal of the sentence that had been imposed on June 26, 2018 after a guilty plea, and increased the fine from $140,000 to $170,000, plus victim fine surcharge.
On June 26, 2018, Quantex was convicted of three violations and was fined a total of $140,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $35,000 with 2 years to pay. The court also issued a probation order requiring the company to retain an independent auditor to conduct an embedded audit of some of the company's waste management practices.
In December 2018, when the embedded audit was to begin, Quantex advised the Crown that it had sold the facility. It subsequently became apparent that the company had sold the facility prior to being sentenced in June 2018 and that Quantex had provided inaccurate information to the sentencing court. Therefore, the earlier sentencing had been conducted on the basis of inaccurate information.
As a result, the Crown appealed the sentence. The appeal was resolved on consent when the appeal court varied the sentence to increase the fine from $140,000 to $170,000. The $30,000 fine increase reflected the anticipated cost of the embedded audit. The victim fine surcharge also increased from $35,000 to $42,500. The sentencing court also vacated the Order requirement that the company conduct the embedded audit.
- At the time of the violations, Quantex Technologies Inc. operated a hazardous and liquid industrial waste transferring/processing site in Kitchener under ministry approval.
- In the first matter, between November 2015 and January 2016, Quantex accepted hazardous wastes which were bulked together and shipped to another waste processing/transfer facility. Ministry inspection indicated that the waste manifest did not accurately reflect the waste classifications and that Quantex had not notified the receiver that some of the waste was subject to land disposal restrictions. As a consequence, the receiving facility was not aware that some of the waste had classifications that were not approved under the company's ministry approval.
- In the second matter, in August 2016, Quantex employees were transferring liquid industrial and/or hazardous wastes from storage totes into a tanker trailer on-site, and the truck's vacuum pump and exhaust was being discharged into the air. During the transfer period, neighbours experienced burning and irritated eyes, a chlorine-like odour and difficulty breathing. The occurrence was reported to Quantex, which ceased the operation immediately.
- The ministry's Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid charges resulting in three convictions.