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Environment • Aboriginal • Energy

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January 09, 2020

Alizadeh v Ontario: Directors Face Uphill Battle to Rebut a Presumption of Management and Control

Corporate directors and officers are presumed to have management and control of a corporation.  As such, directors and officers may be named in Orders issued by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (“MECP”) to address environmental contamination.  The Environmental Protection Act, s. 18 provides the MECP with authority to issue an Order to any person who “owns or owned or who has or had management or control of an undertaking or property”.

The Environmental Review Tribunal (“ERT”) recently affirmed that the evidentiary burden on a corporate director to rebut a presumption of management and control of a corporation is extremely high.  In Alizadeh v Ontario (Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks), the ERT held a former director personally liable for an Order after the director led insufficient evidence to rebut the presumption.  Further, the director’s financial inability to comply with the Order did not warrant removal of the director’s name from the Order.

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