Ontario Ministry of Environment announces raid on Volkswagen’s Toronto headquarters

Published: September 21, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The federal government is expected to begin action against Volkswagen over the emissions scandal that engulfed the company in recent years. The news comes as Ontario has placed its own charges on the German automaker and raided its Toronto Canada headquarters.

Provincial police used a search warrant to enter Volkswagen Canada on Tuesday and conduct a search in relation to the emissions scandal.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change announced Wednesday it has charged Volkswagen AG on one count of violating Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act. Volkswagen is accused of not complying with the province’s emission standards. While just under allegation and not responding, it is unlikely the company will contest the charge.

Two years ago, it emerged Volkswagen had forged its in-car systems, allowing them to manipulate data and trick regulators. Diesel engines built by the company and in millions of vehicles around the world, were found to be pumping out emissions far above what the company officially claimed. The emissions were also higher than standards set out by most authorities.

“It’s good news, finally. Now if we could just get Environment Canada to act on behalf of the country, that would be a great thing,” said Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence.

Gray believes the federal government must now step in as it has more power and can give harsher punishments to the company. He says higher fines could help accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.

“Yesterday, MOECC executed a search warrant at the company’s Ajax facility. Under the charge, Volkswagen is alleged to have caused or permitted the operation of vehicles that did not comply with emission standards prescribed by Ontario regulations,” said Environment Minister Chris Ballard in a statement.

“If the allegations are proven in court, penalties for the offence will be determined following a sentencing hearing.”