Last week, the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan convicted a father and son of having "without a valid permit authorizing the activity" altered or caused to be altered "the configuration of the bed, bank or boundary of any river, stream, lake, creek or marsh or other watercourse or water body, contrary to s.361(1)(a) of The Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2002, S.S. 2003, c. E-10.21."
The son, "Willy" Kozub, owns land at the west end of Round Lake. His father was the previous owner of the property. While the son was in Alberta during the winter of 2007-08, his father decided to "clean up" part of the shoreline on the property, which was being proposed for subdivision by the Kozubs. The father removed large amounts of debris that had built up on the area with a skidsteer, but in the process of doing so, altered the shoreline.
When the son returned to the property in the spring, he was upset to find what had occurred. He was concerned that the work done on the property would upset neighbours and the Ministry of the Environment. Kozub Jr. then went out and tried to put the shoreline back into the shape it had been before his father's intervention.
Both father and son were charged and convicted for having altered the shoreline without permission from the Ministry of the Environment. Once it was established that they had done the alterations without permission, a conviction was likely. The offence under the Act is one of strict liability, which basically means that if the facts required for the offence are proven (i.e. that you did what was not supposed to be done), then you're guilty unless you have a defence of due diligence (you took all reasonable steps to avoid committing the offence or you believed in a mistaken set of facts which, if proven true, would render the act or omission innocent).
Read the decision at: R. v. Kozub.