Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. v. Ontario; Suncor Inc. and Sunoco Inc. v. Ontario, (1984) 5 O.A.C. 362 (DC)

Judge:Saunders, Hollingworth and Smith, JJ.
Court:Superior Court of Justice of Ontario
Case Date:June 21, 1984
Jurisdiction:Ontario
Citations:(1984), 5 O.A.C. 362 (DC)
 
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Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. v. Ont. (1984), 5 O.A.C. 362 (DC)

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Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. v. Minister of the Environment for the Province of Ontario; Suncor Inc. and Sunoco Inc. v. Minister of the Environment for the Province of Ontario

Indexed As: Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. v. Ontario; Suncor Inc. and Sunoco Inc. v. Ontario

Ontario Divisional Court

Saunders, Hollingworth and Smith, JJ.

October 3, 1984.

Summary:

Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. operated a gas bar supplied by Sunoco. A leak developed in the gasoline storage tanks. Mac's landlord commenced a clean up but did not complete the job. The Ministry of the Environment became involved because of a possible threat to the town water supply. Mac's, the landlord and Sunoco were unwilling to take responsibility for completing the clean up. The Minister of the Environment issued an order pursuant to s. 16 of the Environmental Protection Act to each party involved that they take certain steps including the removal of the contaminated soil. The parties did not comply and the Minister issued a second order under s. 143 of the Act to the effect that the Minister was removing the soil at Mac's, the landlord's and Sunoco's expense ($20,000). The three parties were charged under s. 146 with failure to remove the soil pursuant to the Minister's first order. The trial of Mac's and Sunoco was delayed pending the outcome of their application to have both orders of the Minister quashed on the basis of lack of jurisdiction and the absence of procedural fairness.

The Ontario Divisional Court dismissed the application to quash the Minister's orders and held that there was no lack of jurisdiction and no absence of procedural fairness.

Administrative Law - Topic 2266

Natural justice - Duty of fairness - Procedural fairness - What constitutes - Environmental Protection Act, ss. 16 and 143 - The Environmental Protection Act, s. 16, provided, inter alia, that the Minister could order a person who caused pollution to repair the injury or damage caused thereby - Section 143 allowed the Minister to clean up the pollution where a s. 16 order was not complied with and collect costs from the polluter - The Ontario Divisional Court discussed two orders of the Minister made under ss. 16 and 143 and whether the procedure followed by the Minister met the requirements of procedural fairness - See paragraphs 19 to 31.

Pollution Control - Topic 9317

Enforcement - Clean up - Cost of - Liability for - The Environmental Protection Act, s. 16, provided, inter alia, that the Minister could order a person who caused pollution to repair the injury or damage caused thereby - Section 143 allowed the Minister to clean up the pollution where a s. 16 order was not complied with and collect costs from the polluter - The Ontario Divisional Court discussed the jurisdiction of the Minister to make ss. 16 or 143 orders, where the Minister was unable to identify the person who caused or permitted the pollution to occur - See paragraphs 5 to 18.

Cases Noticed:

Nicholson v. Haldimand-Norfolk Regional Board of Commissioners of Police et al. [1979] 1 S.C.R. 311; 37 N.R. 395, dist. [para. 19].

Statutes Noticed:

Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1980, c. 141, sect. 16 [para. 6]; sect. 143 [para. 7]; sect. 146 [para. 8].

Counsel:

Philip Spencer, Q.C., for the applicant, Mac's Convenience Stores Inc.

Martin Sclisizzi and Debra M. McAllister for the applicants Suncor Inc. and Sunoco Inc.

J. Brian Johnston, Q.C., for the respondent Minister.

This application was heard on June 21, 1984, before Saunders, Hollingworth and Smith, JJ., of the Ontario Divisional Court. The following decision of the Divisional Court was delivered by Saunders, J., and released on October 3, 1984:

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