By on January 23, 2020

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI brown

While it absolutely pales in comparison to the fines levied in the United States, Volkswagen will still have to fork over a pile to appease the Canadians.

This week, the automaker pleaded guilty to 60 charges relating to its deception of regulators and consumers with emissions-rigged diesel vehicles. While $196.5 million sounds like small potatoes in this day and age, it happens to be the largest monetary fine for an environmental crime in the country’s history.

As CBC reports, it happens to be 20 times the previous maximum fine, which was levied on a mining company.

The penalty handed down by the Ontario Court of Justice is in response to the importation of 128,000 diesel Volkswagen and Audi vehicles over several years (ending September 2015), as well as 2,000 Porsche units.

“The proposed fine here indicates that a new era of environmental protection is upon us,” said Judge Enzo Rondinelli while handing down the court’s decision.

Volkswagen’s guilty plea was expected; at this point, with all the evidence against it — and having already faced the music in the U.S. and Germany — Volkswagen likely just wants to get it over with. Headlines from a scandal that started in the 2000s and broke half a decade ago aren’t something a company wants in the media. Not when there’s family-friendly CUVs to sell and much-hyped electric vehicles on the way.

Money handed over by VW will apparently be distributed, via a federal environmental fund, to various provinces and territories for local eco projects. As for the actual vehicles, VW has already taken care of those. An earlier settlement included the same buyback or fix options offered to American owners, at a cost of up to $2.39 billion.

Unlike in the U.S., Volkswagen’s Canadian sales weren’t nearly as buoyant in 2019. Brand sales sank 4.2 percent for the year.

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