Toronto’s Ashford Cleaners Inc. has been fined $60,000 for contravening Ontario’s tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations.
The dry cleaner was sentenced on August 19, 2013, in the Ontario Provincial Court of Justice for offences under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
The offences occurred in July 2012 and included improper storage and containment of tetrachloroethylene wastewater and residue. Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene, and referred to as PERC, is a commonly used dry cleaning solvent and designated as a toxic substance under CEPA, 1999.
New penalties for offences under CEPA, 1999, were adopted on June 22, 2012. This change impacts individuals and corporations by introducing higher maximum and minimum fines that more accurately reflect the seriousness of environmental offences. Ashford Cleaners Inc. was fined under these new provisions and is one of the first cases in which the new higher minimum fines were imposed.
Tetrachloroethylene is a toxic substance. When it is released, it can cause harm to both the environment and human health. The purpose of the Regulations is to prevent the release of tetrachloroethylene from dry cleaning facilities to the environment by implementing control measures for containing, storing, transporting, selling, recycling, and importing this substance.
The fine goes into The Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment Canada, and follows the “polluter pays” principle to help ensure that those who cause damage to the environment or harm wildlife habitat take responsibility for their actions.