Environment Canada reports that the owner of Crown Cleaners, operating in Toronto, Ontario, pleaded guilty on April 21, 2015, in the Ontario Provincial Court of Justice, to the offence of contravening the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA, 1999).
Environment Canada enforcement officers discovered offences during an inspection in October 2013, which included improper storage of waste water containing tetrachloroethylene, a substance commonly known as PERC, and the absence of tetrachloroethylene-resistant drain plugs to be used to seal drains in the event of a spill.
The owner was ordered to pay three mandatory minimum fines of $5000 each. As set out in CEPA, 1999, and amended by the Environmental Enforcement Act, these fines will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF). The EDF is administered by Environment Canada and awards funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to projects that will benefit our natural environment. The mandatory minimum fine is aimed at promoting compliance with federal environmental legislation.
- Tetrachloroethylene (PERC) is a commonly used dry-cleaning solvent, and is listed as a toxic substance under CEPA, 1999.
- The aim of the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations is to reduce PERC releases into the environment, where it has the potential to contaminate ground and surface water.
- CEPA, 1999, is part of Canada’s body of federal environmental legislation. It is an Act respecting pollution prevention and the protection of the environment and human health in order to contribute to sustainable development.