From the city’s top lawyer…
Sent: March 07, 2013 4:07 PM
To: Watson, Jim (Mayor/Maire); =City Council
Cc: + Management – Executives; Young, George; Arpin, Serge; Box, Steve; White, David; Huxley, Stuart; Allaire, Lisa
Subject: Environment Canada – Charge – Fisheries Act
Sent on behalf of M. Rick O’Connor, City Clerk and Solicitor
De la part de M. Rick O’Connor, Greffier et Chef du contentieux
French version to follow/La version française suivra
Mayor Watson and Members of Council:
The purpose of this e-mail is to advise Members of Council that yesterday afternoon, Environment Canada advised my Office that it has commenced a prosecution against the City of Ottawa under the federal Fisheries Act. I understand that this matter relates to an incident that occurred on October 22nd, 2011, at Lansdowne Park. In short, the allegation is that during staff’s cleaning/washing of a line-painting machine (the machine used to mark lines on the then exiting sports-field at Frank Clair Stadium), some paint/wash was allegedly discharged into a storm sewer which ultimately flows into the Rideau Canal.
Lansdowne staff cooperated with the federal Department’s investigation into this matter in late 2011 and early 2012. Although the City has not yet been served with the charging document, we are advised that the charge is under Subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act. This provision provides that no person shall deposit a deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish. The range of possible fines for such offences is determined by a number of factors, including the extent of any discharge. The legislation provides for varying maximum fines and there is no statutory minimum fines. Generally speaking, the maximum fine would be up to $300,000. However, based on my understanding of the circumstances of this case, I do not anticipate that a fine, if imposed, would be at the maximum range.
My Office will be contacting Environment Canada to coordinate the service of the charging document and to confirm the first court appearance date which I currently understand to be March 27th, 2013. Finally, I will undertake to advise Members of Council of significant developments relating to this matter.
I trust that the above is satisfactory.
M. Rick O’Connor, CMO
Certified Specialist (Municipal Law: Local Government) | Spécialiste agréé (Loi sur les municipalités: gouvernement local)
City Clerk and Solicitor | Greffier de la Ville et chef du contentieux
City of Ottawa | ville d’Ottawa