Agricultural operation fined $30K after pleading guilty to pesticide charge
ST THOMAS, ONT-Sandy Shore Farms, in Elgin County, recently pleaded guilty to a charge under Ontario's Pesticides Act relating to damage to a neighbouring crop following pesticide spraying on Sandy Shore's property. The corporation was fined $30,000 and levied a victim fine surcharge. In July 2002, a property owner noticed an extensive area of damaged tobacco plants on his property, which adjoins an asparagus field owned by the Sandy Shore Farms. In a complaint filed with the Ministry of Environment (MOE), the neighbour said he had seen someone spraying pesticides on the adjacent asparagus field a few days before finding the damaged crop. MOE collected soil samples from the site for analysis. Test results confirmed that the herbicides used by Sandy Shore Farms had caused damage to the tobacco plants. Consequently, the corporation was charged with causing or permitting the discharge of pesticides into the environment that caused or were likely to cause injury or damage to property or to plant life or animal life greater than the damage, if any, that would have resulted from the proper use of the pesticides, contrary to Section 4(b) of the Pesticides Act.