GFL Environmental Inc. (GFL) was recently convicted of two violations (counts) under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act (EPA), fined $130,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $32,500, and given 90 days to pay.

The environmental fine is in relation to the Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) for waste transfer/processing at GFL’s waste transfer facility on Unwin Avenue in the City of Toronto. The facility is just west of the former Richard L. Hearn municipal incinerator. The ECA sets out the conditions for site operations.

In October 2021, the Ontario Environment Ministry received a complaint advising that large amounts of waste were being stored outside of the site’s waste building. Ministry staff attended the site to conduct an inspection and observed that waste was being stored outside of the waste building, the entrance driveway was temporarily blocked and it appeared that no new waste was being permitted onto the property.

Several violations were identified in relation to the site-issued ECA. Waste was observed to be stored outside of the waste transfer building with no protection from precipitation. The conditions of the ECA required waste to be stored in a manner which limits contact with precipitation.

Following the ministry’s inspection, GFL confirmed that the waste had been removed from the yard and stored inside the building. No waste is known to have come in contact with precipitation and no environmental harm is alleged to have occurred as a result.

An inspection of the facility’s records by the Ontario Environment Ministry found that the outstanding amount of financial assurance on file with the ministry had been submitted after the deadline specified in the ECA.

The following activities are approved under this ECA for the facility on Unwin Avenue, the company is permitted to receive and sort waste, temporarily store it, and process and transfer waste. All waste entering the facility must be solid, non-hazardous domestic, industrial, commercial, institutional waste and green bin waste. Under the ECA, the site is approved to receive a maximum of 1,088 tonnes of solid, non-hazardous waste per day. The site is approved to store a maximum of 920 tonnes of waste at any time.

The ministry’s Environmental Investigations and Enforcement Branch (IEB) investigated and laid charges which resulted in the convictions.