N.S. Environment Department now posting fines, compliance orders online
During 9 months in 2018, the department won 52 convictions resulting in $66,000 in fines
Nova Scotia's Environment Department is now posting online a list of all the convictions it has been able to secure by taking people to court for breaking a whole host of Nova Scotia laws or regulations.
Adrian Fuller, executive director of the inspection, compliance and enforcement division at the department, said the decision to build a list and post it online was an attempt to be more transparent.
"It just provides some information to people," he told CBC. "We do get inquiries from people like yourselves, and from the public about what work Nova Scotia Environment is doing."
The department is responsible for enforcing the Environment Act as well as a number of other laws, including the:
- Off-highway Vehicles Act
- Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act
- Crown Lands Act
- Tobacco Access Act
- Wildlife Act
- Tanning Beds Act
- Safe Body Art Act
For the first nine months of 2018, the department won 52 convictions against 39 individuals or companies. There is a single conviction against the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for acting without proper approval. That conviction resulted in a $697.50 fine.
"Within Nova Scotia Environment it's our role to investigate or follow up on anything that may be a potential violation regardless of who the people doing the work are, which includes people up in government as well," said Fuller.
Most of the infractions relate to contravening an order, directive, regulation or the terms and conditions of an approval.
There are 10 convictions for breaking Nova Scotia's off-highway vehicles law, including five charges again Daniel Thibeault, who was caught operating an off-highway vehicle almost a year ago without a permit or proper insurance.
He was also fined for fleeing officers and crossing a highway in the process.
The owner of a construction and demolition disposal yard in the Annapolis Valley racked up the biggest fines. Derrick Shaffer and his company Shaffer Enterprises were fined a total of $30,000 for two Environment Act violations after a fire at the North River Road facility, near Kentville, on March 22, 2016. It took firefighters five days to extinguish it.
The owner of the Debert Mini-Mart in Truro, Habib Chater, paid the smallest fine — $95 for selling tobacco to a person under the age of 19.
Fuller said the list did not include charges laid and fines imposed on people who chose to face the consequences rather than fight the charges in court.
"There are a lot more summary offence tickets issued and really a majority of those are settled out of court where people may plead guilty and just decide to pay the fine," said Fuller.
The department is promising to update the list monthly.