German vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen was ordered on Jan. 22 by a Canadian judge to pay a record penalty $196.5 million ($149.7 million U.S.), just hours after the company reportedly pleaded guilty to all 60 counts of diesel emissions violations, reported Reuters and other Canadian news outlets.
Volkswagen was charged last month with allegedly importing around 128,000 vehicles that violated Canada’s emissions standards.
The fine is likely to be paid to Canada’s federal Environmental Damages Fund, as recommended by both VW and the Canadian government, news reports indicated.
However, neither the Canadian government nor VW have publicly announced exactly how much of that penalty, if any, might be devoted to purchases of electric, propane, CNG or cleaner diesel school buses.
The Toronto Sun noted that Volkswagen has 30 days to pay the fine. Meanwhile, it reported that VW and the Canadian government suggested distributing the funds to provinces and territories based on how many affected vehicles were sold in each jurisdiction.
Prosecutors claimed the fine was by far the largest environmental penalty in Canadian history.
But while the record penalty amount may be large by Canadian standards, Crown prosecutor Tom Lemon noted that the financial penalties in U.S. were 26 times higher.
The Canadian fine is also reportedly substantially less than the maximum $265 million the company could have been forced to pay, stated the news service Canadian Press.
The Star alleged that “Canadian officials found that certain Volkswagen supervisors and employees knew the slate of vehicles it wanted to import into Canada didn’t meet the Environmental Protection Agency standards, which had been adopted from American rules. They also knew Volkswagen was using software to cheat the U.S. testing process.”
Volkswagen said in a statement, “The resolution acknowledges the extensive measures by Volkswagen to make things right in Canada and strengthen its global compliance policies. The payment from the company will be used to support environmental projects nationally and in the provinces across the country.”