On September 11th, 2012, J & A Health Food
International Ltd., based in Richmond, BC, received penalties
totalling $45,000 after pleading guilty to three offences under
the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of
International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA).
The charges stem from January 28, 2010, when Environment Canada
officers searched a shipment of permitted ginseng roots and found
several bags of wild American ginseng roots and several bags of
orchids (Dendrobium spp) hidden within the shipment.
Both the wild American ginseng roots and the species of orchids
discovered were of high value, and had not been declared to the
Canada Border Services Agency. Additionally, both species are
identified in the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
CITES is an international agreement between governments which
aims to ensure that international trade in wild plants and animals
does not threaten their survival. CITES has 176 member states
globally, and accords varying degrees of protection to more than
30,000 plant and animal species. CITES was implemented in
Canada by the enactment of WAPPRIITA.
J & A Health Food International Ltd. was charged under ss.
6(2) of WAPPRIITA, which states:
6. (2) Subject to the regulations, no person shall, except
under and in accordance with a permit issued pursuant to subsection
10(1), import into Canada or export from Canada any animal or
plant, or any part or derivative of an animal or plant.
Of the $45,000 of penalties imposed, $2,500 was imposed as a
fine for each of the three offences under ss. 6(2), $7,500 was
directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, and an award of $30,000
was directed to TRAFFIC, a global organization that monitors trade
in wild plants and animals and aims to keep such trade at
sustainable levels. TRAFFIC also works in close cooperation
with the Secretariat of CITES. In addition to the monetary
penalties, the sentence imposed included the forfeiture of 19kg of
ginseng (both wild and cultivated) and 5kg of orchids.
To learn more, visit the following websites:
CITES in Canada: http://www.ec.gc.ca/cites/
Environmental Damages Fund: http://www.ec.gc.ca/edf-fde/