Irving Oil Sentenced for Offences Under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act

Image: Paul Chiasson/Associated Press file photo

SAINT JOHN – Irving Oil Commercial GP has been ordered by the Saint John Provincial Court to pay $400,320 in fines and $3,599,680 for the “implementation of research programs in the field of safety standards” following guilty pleas to 34 counts for offences under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.

The guilty pleas and sentencing follow a joint investigation by Transport Canada and the RCMP into the events surrounding the train derailment in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6, 2013, that killed 47 people.

“[The investigation] revealed that Irving Oil did not comply with all applicable safety requirements by failing to determine the classification of dangerous goods for the crude oil it transported by train, and that the shipping documents on board the trains were erroneous,” says a release from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC).

“Irving Oil also failed to adequately train its employees in the transportation of dangerous goods, thereby committing an offence contrary to the Act.”

The PPSC release states that the offences took place from November 2012 to July 2013. During that time, approximately 14,000 cars transported crude oil for Irving Oil.

The court also ordered Irving Oil to submit a corrective measures plan and follow-up with Transport Canada.

In a release posted on its website, Irving Oil said the misclassification of crude oil “did not cause or contribute to the railway accident in any way.”

In the four years since the accident, the company said it has reviewed its safety procedures and systems and improved training programs for employees.

“Irving Oil believes strongly in the importance of safety and regulatory compliance across all of our operations and we take these charges very seriously,” the company said.

“Over the last four years, Irving Oil has undertaken, through its Operational Excellence program, a comprehensive review of its procedures and systems relating to the transportation of dangerous goods. In addition, the company has enhanced the training programs for all employees involved in the handling, offering for transport, and transport of dangerous goods.”