The Calgary Court of Queen's Bench dismissed Lake Louise Ski Area Ltd.'s (LLSA) appeal against sentence in connection with the cutting of trees on its leasehold in Banff National Park in 2015. The Court confirmed that the $2.1 million fine imposed by the trial judge was appropriate.
The decision provides important guidance on the interpretation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA)'s sentencing provisions in support of the protections afforded to species at risk, and on the application of the principles of sentencing for environmental crimes.
In November 2018, LLSA was sentenced to fines totalling $2.1 million after pleading guilty to one count of killing individuals of a wildlife species that is listed as an endangered species contrary to s. 32(1) of SARA and one count of removing, defacing, damaging or destroying flora in a park without a permit, contrary to s. 24(2) of the Canada National Parks Act (CNPA). The tree species cut down included Lodgepole Pine, Douglas Fir, Spruce, Larch and the endangered Whitebark Pine.
This is the most serious conviction and largest sentence under the SARA and the CNPA to date. The sentence sends an important deterrent message to help protect species at risk, particularly in our National Parks.
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada is a national organization responsible for prosecuting offences under federal jurisdiction in a manner that is free of any improper influence and that respects the public interest. The PPSC is also responsible for providing prosecution-related advice to law enforcement agencies across Canada.