TORONTO — Fiera Foods Co., a Toronto baker and frozen food manufacturer, has been fined C$65,000 ($52,000) under the Environmental Protection Act (E.P.A.) in Canada. The agency also imposed on Fiera a C$16,250 ($13,000) victim fine surcharge.
According to the Canada Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Fiera Foods expanded its Toronto plant without a required environmental compliance approval.
The issue dates to a January 2015 inspection conducted by ministry staff of the plant located on Marmora Street in Toronto. The staff became aware that an expansion of operations to an adjacent site was underway. The new capacity became operational later that year.
The ministry said Fiera Foods in July submitted an application to amend its existing environmental compliance approval for air and noise emissions but did not complete the application.
In January 2016, the ministry received noise complaints from residents living near the plant, who said the newly renovated plant was the source of the noise.
A month later, Fiera Foods received a Provincial Officer’s Order requiring the submission of a completed environmental compliance amendment approval application.
“The incidents were referred to the ministry’s Investigations and Enforcement Branch, resulting in charges and one conviction, through a guilty plea,” the ministry said.
According to the Toronto Star, neighbors have lodged about 1,000 noise complaints.
In a November 2017 statement, Fiera Foods said it was working to “rectify the situation” and said the company “has always strived to be a good corporate neighbor to its surrounding communities.”
The company has operated the Toronto facility since 1999 and said that as of September 2017 it was operating within the ministry requirements.
The company said that at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing an “environmental noise expert showed that the additional space the company was seeking through variance applications/appeals would not add to the noise environment created by the facility.”
“The company even invited neighbors to its facility in early 2016 to voice their concerns, but only one individual attended,” Fiera Foods said. “Further, in October 2016, Fiera Foods and Marmora Freezing hosted a community meeting with the goal of providing updates on noise mitigation measures, hearing their comments, and updating the status of the E.C.A. (Environmental Compliance Approval) application. None of the neighbors attended this event.
“To demonstrate its commitment to the local residents, the company supports their petition for the noise barrier along Highway 401 to be replaced. It was removed during recent construction, and residents believe it impacts the noise levels in their neighborhood.”
The Canada Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change said Fiera Foods has 90 days to pay the fine.Established in 1987, Fiera Foods has 1,200 employees. The company’s products include artisan bread and rolls, bagels, croissants, Danish, cinnamon pastries, puff pastries and muffins. The company said it exports more than C$240 million ($193 million) in product annually.