THE GALLON ENVIRONMENT LETTER Vol. 3, No. 1, January 7, 1999


What happens when the province backs away from its responsibility to prosecute polluters? Then citizens have to do it. Two citizens’ groups, the Environmental Bureau of Investigation and the Sierra Legal Defence Fund successfully laid charges against Kingston for dumping toxic waste into the Great Cataraqui River. Justice of the Peace Jack Bell of the Ontario Court (Provincial Division) in Kingston convicted the City of Kingston for violating the federal Fisheries Act. With legal representation from the Sierra Legal Defence Fund (SLDF), the private prosecution was commenced in 1997 by local resident, Janet Fletcher. Kingston allowed toxic leachate to pour out of a former City waste dump, which is now a public park and golf course. “Kingston officials knew for years about the toxic material pouring from this site into the River and refused to take any action to prevent it,”explained Fletcher.

“With all the Ontario government cutbacks, it is a tragedy that Ontario’s citizens have to do the government’s investigation work for them. This case should send a clear message to Queen’s Park that the government should put the protection of a healthy environment back on their priority list,” stated SLDF lawyer, Jerry DeMarco.