Statement - Government of Canada opens an investigation into Volkswagen's alleged use of defeat devices to circumvent emissions regulations

OTTAWA, Sept. 22, 2015 /CNW/ - On September 18, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen. The Notice alleges that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 included a "defeat device" that enable the cars to circumvent EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants.

Today, Environment Canada issued the following update on the issue:

"The Government of Canada has implemented stringent emissions standards to address air pollutants from new cars sold in Canada to help ensure clean air for Canadians in alignment with the U.S. EPA's standards. 

"With aligned emission standards, Environment Canada works closely with the U.S. EPA to ensure our common environmental outcomes are achieved.

"Upon becoming aware of this issue, Environment Canada acted quickly to examine potential implications for Canada and is in communications with its U.S. EPA counterparts and representatives of Volkswagen Group Canada Inc.

"After careful assessment of the known facts, Environment Canada has opened an investigation into this matter. An investigation involves gathering, from a variety of sources, evidence and information relevant to a suspected violation.

"Canadian legislation and regulations prohibit vehicle manufacturers and importers from equipping a vehicle with a defeat device. If officers uncover sufficient evidence of violations, enforcement action will be taken in accordance with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA, 1999).

"As the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to provide further information at this time.

"It is estimated that approximately 100,000 Volkswagen and Audi four-cylinder diesel cars of the model years 2009-2015 were sold in Canada.

"Car owners should know that while the alleged defeat device hinders the effectiveness of a vehicle's air pollutant control systems, it is not a safety issue."

Background on penalties for violating Canadian emission regulations

Canadian vehicle emission regulations are made under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA, 1999). Penalties for offences relating to violations of such regulations may be imposed following a conviction of the offender and under CEPA, 1999, the maximum fine which a large corporation would face for conviction on indictment is $6 million for each offence. Violators may also have to forfeit any profits earned as a result of an offence. Corporate officials can be prosecuted if they authorize, accept or participate in any violation of CEPA, 1999, or its regulations. A range of sentences may be available upon conviction, including fines and possible imprisonment.


SOURCE Environment Canada

For further information: Media Relations, Environment Canada, 819-934-8008


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