The fallout from Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal continues as the Canadian government has slapped the automaker with 60 counts of contravening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999.
58 of the counts are related to Volkswagen’s unlawful importation of nearly 128,000 vehicles that did not conform with emission standards between January 2008 and December 2015. The other two counts are for providing misleading information.
The charges come as a result of an investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada and it focused on Volkswagen’s use of defeat devices in diesel-powered vehicles. These devices enabled the models to appear to meet emission standards during testing but, in normal operation, those standards were exceeded.
The Canadian government is keeping details under wraps, but said “enforcement officers conducted a very comprehensive, thorough and meticulous investigation.” The government went on to say they gathered an “extraordinary quantity of evidence and information,” and then spent months “analyzing and preparing the evidence for Public Prosecution Service of Canada review.”
The case is set to move forward later this week as Volkswagen will be forced to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice. As in other cases, Volkswagen will likely be facing a massive fine.
It remains unclear why it took the Canadian government so long to go after Volkswagen, but their case will likely mirror ones that played out earlier in the United States. As revealed by the US Department of Justice, former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was repeatedly told about the emissions cheating but decided to continue the charade even after being shown a PowerPoint presentation detailing the fraud and its potential consequences.
Volkswagen’s denials famously backfired in 2015 when an employee, in “direct contravention of the instructions from his superiors,” revealed the company’s 2.0-liter TDI engines were using defeat devices. Less than a month later, Volkswagen finally admitted the truth.
This resulted in a recall of 11 million vehicles and fines, legal costs and repairs that have already totaled around $33 (£25 / €30) billion.