MONTREAL — The railway at the centre of the Lac-Megantic train explosion as well as several of its former employees settled with federal prosecutors on Monday and were ordered to pay fines totalling $1.25 million while one ex-railway worker was given a conditional jail term.
Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway, the company that owned the train that derailed in the small town killing 47 people, pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act and was ordered to pay $1 million.
Six ex-MMA employees pleaded guilty to violating the Railway Safety Act, namely for failing to ensure the convoy was properly secured the night before it moved on its own and derailed into the small town.
Five of them — Michael Horan, Jean Demaitre, Kenneth I. Strout, Lynne Labonte et Robert C. Grindrod — were ordered to pay $50,000 each.
Ex-train engineer Thomas Harding, who improperly parked the train on July 5, 2013, before leaving for the night, was given conditional sentence of six months in prison, which will be served in the community.
Meanwhile, railway controller Richard Labrie was acquitted.
Harding, Demaitre and Labrie were charged separately in Quebec Superior Court with one count each of criminal negligence causing the death of 47 people but were acquitted in January.
The charges for which they, along with former colleagues and the MMA itself settled on Monday were brought by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
From the million-dollar fine levelled against MMA, $400,000 is payable immediately and will be put into a fund used to decontaminate the Megantic Lake and Chaudiere River. Crude oil leaked into both bodies of water after the derailment.
While the fines will go to the federal government, Transport Canada has agreed to hand over $250,000 to Avenir Lac-Megantic Fund, which was set up by the town to help with the economic recovery and reconstruction of the downtown area.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the redirection of the funds to the community-based, locally run organization is being done on an exceptional basis.
"After my numerous meetings with residents of Lac-Megantic, I am aware of the extent to which they have been marked by this tragedy and my thoughts remain with them," Garneau said in a statement Monday.