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APPEALS - Grounds - Question of law - Substitution of verdict

Monday, June 04, 2018 @ 8:44 AM  

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Appeal by the Crown from the $10,000 fine imposed on the Big River First Nation following its guilty plea for failing to comply with an Environmental Protection Compliance Order. The respondent owned and operated a gas bar that was the subject of the order. The gas bar had revenue of $4,000,000. The sentencing judge determined the respondent was an individual within the meaning of s. 272(2) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The respondent was not a natural person or someone capable of being imprisoned, which meant it was not an “individual” within the meaning of s. 272(2)(b) of the Act. As the respondent was not an individual or a small revenue corporation, it had to, by default and by the clear and unambiguous wording of s. 272(2) and s. 272(3) of the Act be a “person”. Determining the respondent was a “person” was consistent with the scheme found in the Act and its objectives and purpose. The sentencing judge erred in principle when he interpreted s. 272(2) of the Act, which affected the sentence pronounced. The respondent was sentenced to a fine of $100,000.

R. v. Big River First Nation, [2018] S.J. No. 144, Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, G.A. Meschishnick J., April 5, 2018. Digest No. TLD-June42018001