On Dec. 9, 2019, the Canadian government announced it was charging Volkswagen with 58 infractions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Volkswagen set to propose plea deal on environment charges in Canadian court

Lawyers for German auto giant Volkswagen are set to propose a plea deal in an Ontario court today on allegations that the company broke numerous environmental laws.

The Canadian government announced Monday it was charging the behemoth with 58 infractions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It is also charged with two counts of providing misleading information.

The government says Volkswagen imported 128,000 cars into Canada between 2008 and 2015 that violated emissions standards.

Environment Canada’s investigation, launched in September 2015, was repeatedly criticized by environmental experts and lawyers for taking too long.

The company pleaded guilty in U.S. court in 2017 for violating American laws and was fined $4.3 billion. In 2018, German prosecutors fined the company one-billion euros for the emissions-cheating case.

Several company executives and managers involved in the deception were charged in the U.S. and Germany, and some have already been sent to prison.

In total, the elaborate scheme has cost the company more than US$30 billion in fines and civic lawsuits, as well as compensation to customers who returned the affected cars for refunds or exchanges.

The affected cars in Canada included 3.0-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engine vehicles sold under Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche brands.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2019.

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