Irving Oil ordered to pay $4M for violating safety standards in transporting crude oil

Irving Oil has been ordered to pay $4 million after pleading guilty to 34 offences under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.

The charges stem from a joint investigation by Transport Canada and the RCMP that was prompted by the deadly train derailment in Lac Mégantic.

READ MORE: Quebec agency releases Lac-Megantic report

In July 2013, a 74-car freight train carrying crude oil destined for the refinery in Saint John derailed in the Quebec town, which led to an explosion that claimed 47 lives.

According to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the investigation revealed that Irving Oil did not comply with safety requirements by failing to determine the classification of dangerous goods for the crude oil it was transporting by train.

“That is important information that needs to be in the shipping documents for first responders (to know) what is the product they’re dealing with when intervening in a situation,” said Denis Lavoie, senior counsel with public prosecution.

It also found shipping documents on board the trains were “erroneous” and that Irving Oil didn’t properly train its employees in the transportation of dangerous goods.

WATCH: Lac Megantic disaster sparks changes

The offences took place from November 2012 to July 2013, during which 14,000 cars would have transported crude oil for the company.

In a statement, Irving Oil says it believes strongly in the importance of safety and regulatory compliance, and that it takes the charges seriously.

“The misclassification of crude oil did not cause or contribute to the railway accident in any way,” the statement reads.

Irving Oil says in the four years since the disaster, it has undertaken a comprehensive review of its procedures relating to the transportation of dangerous goods. The company also says it has enhanced training programs for employees involved in handling and transporting the dangerous goods.

“The company will remain vigilant in all of our operations, upholding out commitment to safety for employees, customers, and communities.”

Irving Oil was sentenced on Thursday at Saint John Provincial Court. It has been ordered to pay $400,320 in fines and $3,599,680 to implement safety standards research programs.

With a file from Ross Lord

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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