Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has been fined $20,000, plus a victim fine surcharge, for failing to notify Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment of a spill of fish byproduct.
Rothsay, a division of Maple Leaf Foods, collects and transports meat processing byproducts and has a facility located at 880 Highway 5 near Greenville in Flamborough Township. This facility is also known as Rothsay Dundas.
On July 21, 2005, a Rothsay truck was transporting 18 tonnes of fish processing byproduct from Wheatley, Ontario to Rothsay Dundas. As the truck took an exit onto Highway 52 towards Copetown, some of the transported material spilled from the truck on to the roadway. The driver noticed the spill and alerted Rothsay Dundas. In response, Rothsay Dundas dispatched a cleanup crew to the site.
After being notified by a motorist of the spill, a ministry provincial officer spoke with the transportation manager of Rothsay Dundas on July 22, 2005. The manager said 700 kilograms of fish offal had spilled onto the roadway. The manager told the officer that actions had been taken and that Rothsay did not believe the spill had caused an adverse effect due to the quantity of byproduct involved. The company was charged following an investigation by the Ministry of the Environment’s Investigations and Enforcement Branch.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to notify the ministry of the spill and the action that was taken, or that was intended to be taken, with respect to the spill, contrary to s. 92 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act. Justice of the Peace Hugh Brown heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Hamilton, Ontario, on July 23, 2007.