On October 22, 2010, the Provincial Court of Alberta ordered Syncrude Canada Ltd. to pay $3 million following its recent convictions under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) and Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (AEPA). The convictions relate to the deaths, in 2008, of some 1600 migratory waterfowl found in the company’s Aurora Settling Basin, north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The $3 million court order includes a $300,000 penalty, the maximum fine for an offence under the MBCA, which will be paid to the federal Environmental Damages Fund; and a $500,000 penalty, the maximum fine for an offence under the AEPA, with half of the amount directed toward a program for bird protection and monitoring, and integrated with aboriginal training in Fort McMurray. The court order also accepts a joint submission of the Crown and defence counsel, in which Syncrude agreed to fund certain sentencing projects; in particular, Syncrude agreed to pay $1.3 million to be held in trust by the University of Alberta for the Avian Protection Research Study; and to make a $900,000 contribution to purchase lands in the Golden Ranches Conservation Area, near Edmonton.

For further information, please see News Release and Torys’ July 2010 Bulletin.