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Burton – J.D. Irving Limited pleaded guilty in New Brunswick provincial court to charges laid by Environment Canada under the Migratory Birds Convention Act 1994.
The company was sentenced to pay a $60,000 penalty for contravening the Act by destroying eight Great Blue Heron nests during logging operations. The company will also be required to create a buffer zone to prevent further forestry activity in the area where the nests were damaged.
“Protection of Canada’s wildlife is of the highest priority for our Government,” said Canada’s Environment Minister, John Baird. “Today’s announcement of a guilty plea demonstrates that environmental enforcement works to help protect and preserve Canada’s natural treasures like the Great Blue Heron.”
$50,000 of the total penalty will be awarded to Bird Studies Canada‘s Atlantic Canada office to be used for the protection and conservation of migratory birds including the Great Blue Heron. Bird Studies Canada is a not-for-profit organization that advances the understanding, appreciation and conservation of wild birds and their habitat in Canada.
The court also assessed a fine of $10,000, which under the Act must be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund. The fund is administered by Environment Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada and directs money from fines to work to restore and protect the environment.
This conviction concludes an investigation that began in the summer of 2006. The investigation was led by Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch, with cooperation from New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources conservation officers.
“I would like to thank Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch, as well as the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources for their work on this matter,” said Minister Baird. “It is through the dedication and hard work of these public servants that we are able to enforce the law and protect our wildlife.”
As part of the court proceedings, the company challenged the federal authority to legislate with respect to migratory birds. The New Brunswick Provincial Court upheld the authority of the federal government to enact the Migratory Birds Convention Act 1994 and confirmed federal responsibility for migratory birds.
The Government of Canada is responsible under the Migratory Birds Convention Act 1994 for ensuring that migratory birds are maintained, protected and conserved. This Act provides for fines up to $1 million and/or three years imprisonment for indictable offences and up to $300,000 and six months imprisonment for summary conviction offences.