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• In 2016, a dry cleaning com- pany was fi ned $36,000 for improper storage and dispos- al of tetrachloroethylene.

DIRECTORS IN THE HOT SEAT Companies are not the only tar- get for Environment and Cli- mate Change Canada prose- cutions. Directors and officers also attract liability under the new legislative framework. For example: • In 2013, the director of a dry cleaning company was personally fi ned $10,000 for his corporation’s improper storage and containment of tetrachloroethylene.

• In 2015, the director of a dry cleaning company was per- sonally fi ned $15,000 for his corporation’s improper stor- age of tetrachloroethylene and absence of tetrachloro- ethylene-resistant drain plugs.

JAIL SENTENCE Fines are not the only penalties being sought by Environment and Climate Change Canada. In February 2016, for the

fi rst time ever, the owner of a dry cleaning facility received a four-month conditional jail sentence after pleading guilty to contraventions of the Tetrachloroethylene Regula- tions. Dry cleaning businesses operated by the owner had been subject to two previous convictions under CEPA. Envi- ronment and Climate Change Canada investigations over the course of 14 months found improper storage and handling of tetrachloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene waste. In deciding that a jail sentence was appropriate, the Court focused on the owner’s repeated non-compliance despite being made aware of the regulations

and the dangers of mishandling tetrachloroethylene.

Other dry cleaning compan-

ies, and their directors and offi - cers, have also been charged but have negotiated out of court settlements where the charges were not pursued in exchange for negotiated terms. Negotiat- ed terms included attendance at education seminars on dry cleaning operations, posting public notices of non-compli- ance and proper handling prac- tices, and payment to the Envi- ronmental Damages Fund.


Environment and Climate Change Canada is actively prosecuting dry cleaners for contraventions of CEPA and is seeking the increased penal- ties prescribed by the EEA for convictions. A strong message is being sent by the Court – regulatory compliance must be taken seriously. If not, penal- ties can deprive you not only of your business profits, but potentially your freedom. All dry cleaners should take

the time to protect themselves and their operations by refresh- ing their memories about the requirements for their oper- ations under CEPA, the Tetra- chloroethylene Regulations, provincial laws and municipal bylaws, and ensuring all aspects of the dry cleaning facilities and operations are in compliance.


Jacquelyn Stevens is a partner at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP and is certifi ed as a Specialist in Environmental Law by The Law Society of Upper Canada. She can be reached at 416-862-4822 or by email at Thank you to Anand Srivastava, Articling Student, for his assistance in preparing this update article.

The information and comments herein are for the general information of the reader only and do not constitute legal advice or opinion. The reader should seek specifi c legal advice for particular applications of the law to specifi c situations.

Product news


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