Environmental Defence and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment are asking the Federal Court to compel Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and her department to conduct a ministerial investigation into several allegations related to Volkswagen’s admitted duping of Canadians who bought its cars equipped with diesel engines.
Software loaded into the cars concealed pollutant emissions that were as much as 35 times legal limits. The German car maker has pled guilty to a variety of fraud-related charges in the United States, some 105,000 vehicles with the fraudulent software were sold in Canada, “and Volkswagen has a court-certified settlement program under way to buy back the cars and compensate Canadians who owned or leased them,” the Globe and Mail reports.
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McKenna’s department opened an investigation into Volkswagen two years ago, but has been silent on its findings since. That apparent inaction “basically puts a mark on Canada as a place to get away with dumping your crap into the environment and nothing will be done about it,” asserted Environmental Defence Executive Director Tim Gray.
In June, the two NGOs invoked the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) in a joint submission requesting a ministerial investigation into four specific allegations on how Volkswagen was able to get away with its deceptive practices.
Those allegations are that Volkswagen “imported cars that violated Canadian emissions requirements; applied the National Emissions Mark on diesel cars which didn’t meet the standards and then sold those cars; provided false and misleading information; and earlier this year resumed sales of the 2015 models without fixing the emissions problem,” the Globe states. A ministerial investigation conducted under CEPA must issue a status report at least every 90 days.
When the department responded that it would open an investigation into the fourth allegation, but not the other three—which it said were already under investigation—the groups filed suit, seeking to compel action on all four issues.
In the wake of the scandal, a French investigation found misleading claims about diesel emissions to be common among Europe automakers. Germany announced ‘anti-doping’ tests to detect non-compliant diesel vehicles on its roads.