Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft charged with offences under federal environmental legislation

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

The Government of Canada takes the health and safety of Canadians and our environment very seriously. We are committed to clean transportation and to working to make sure Canadians have clean air and healthier communities. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers are dedicated to enforcing the laws that protect Canada’s environment and the health of Canadians.

On December 9, 2019, Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (Volkswagen AG) was charged with 60 counts of contravening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (the Act).

These charges include 58 counts of contravening the Act between January 2008 and December 2015, by allegedly unlawfully importing into Canada nearly 128,000 vehicles that did not conform to prescribed vehicle emission standards. The company is also charged with two counts of providing misleading information.

A court appearance is scheduled on Friday, December 13, 2019 in the Ontario Court of Justice.

In September 2015, Environment and Climate Change Canada launched an investigation into the importation into Canada of certain models of vehicles allegedly equipped with a prohibited “defeat device”, which in this case, is software that reduces the effectiveness of the emission control system during normal vehicle operation and use.

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers conducted a very comprehensive, thorough and meticulous investigation. Officers gathered an extraordinary quantity of evidence and information from foreign and domestic sources related to the suspected violations of federal environmental legislation. This involved collecting all relevant information possible, while working within different international legal environments. They then spent months poring over the information, analyzing and preparing the evidence for Public Prosecution Service of Canada review.

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

  • Canadian vehicle emission standards are imposed by regulations made under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The Act is an important part of Canada’s federal environmental legislation aimed at preventing pollution and protecting the environment and human health.

  • The Off-road Vehicle and Engine Emissions Regulations define a defeat device as an auxiliary emission control device that reduces the effectiveness of the emission control system under conditions that may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal vehicle operation and use.

  • All charges are currently before the Court. Therefore, Environment and Climate Change Canada will not comment further at this time.

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