Groupe Maison Candiac Court-ordered to pay $20,000 for violating Migratory Birds Convention

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Enforcing Canadian environmental and wildlife laws is one of the most important ways that Canada is taking action to protect wildlife and plants. Enforcement officers work in collaboration with other Canadian government partners, as well as territorial and provincial counterparts, to ensure that law enforcement efforts are maximized.

On August 7, 2019, Groupe Maison Candiac inc., a real estate development company from Montreal’s South Shore, pleaded guilty at the Longueuil courthouse to destroying 25 to 55 migratory bird nests as a result of clearing operations in June 2016.

In response to a public complaint on June 23, 2016, two Environment and Climate Change Canada law enforcement officers stopped clearing work that was underway on land along Augustin Avenue located between Jacques-Martin Street and the so-called Highway of Steel (Autoroute 30) in the municipality of Saint-Philippe. A total of 6.2 hectares of land was cleared using a chipper between June 16 and 23, 2016.

As a result of this incident, Environment and Climate Change Canada filed summary charges for violating section 6 of the Migratory Birds Regulations for destroying bird nests.

The Court decided to suspend sentencing for Groupe Maison Candiac. The Court did, however, order the company to pay $20,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund. The company will be subject to one-year’s probation. It will also have to publish an offence notice in a construction industry magazine to raise public awareness about the importance of protecting migratory birds.

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Enforcement Branch makes considerable efforts to ensure that protection of wildlife species and their habitat is respected by businesses and individuals. They encourage citizens to report any wildlife-related illegal acts they may witness to the National Environmental Emergencies Centre by calling 514-283-2333 or 1-866-283-2333, or by contacting Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) to anonymously report crimes related to wildlife species. Callers may be rewarded with up to $2,000.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has created a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment.

Quick facts

  • The Saint-Philippe area belongs to the Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain Bird Conservation Region (BCR 13-QC), which is essentially located in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. This region is the most densely populated area in Quebec, with nearly 75% of the population living there. Forest cover, mainly composed of hardwood and mixedwood forests, has been and continues to be greatly reduced due to agricultural and urban development. As a result, forest habitats are very fragmented.

  • The remaining natural areas play a central role in migratory bird and nature conservation in general, given that the St. Lawrence Lowlands are the most biodiverse area in Quebec. Ornithologically, the region is also characterized by a major migratory route formed by the St. Lawrence corridor, where the surrounding lands provide resting and feeding areas.

  • The vegetation in the cleared area (before clearing) consisted mainly of semi-closed environments (variable cover dominated by shrubs and trees), and semi-open environments (variable cover dominated by open areas and shrubs), with smaller open- and closed-environment areas. This mosaic of habitats made the site an attractive place for various bird species.

  • Given that the habitat for birds to nest is increasingly restricted because of urban development, the future of these species depends on the protection of this habitat during the nesting period.

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