Ontario environment ministry raids Volkswagen Canada as part of emissions scandal probe
This comes two years after a global emissions scandal involving several Volkswagen models erupted. The fallout prompted criminal charges and a major class action suit
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Investigators, foreground, at Volkswagen headquarters in Ajax on Tuesday. Information to obtain the search warrant, which includes details of what the investigators were seeking, is sealed to the public until it has been fully executed. Peter J. Thompson/National Post
Joseph Brean and Adrian Humphreys
September 19, 2017
AJAX, Ont. — Investigators for Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change raided the headquarters of Volkswagen Canada on Tuesday morning, executing a search warrant as part of the massive international investigation into “cheat devices” meant to evade emissions regulations.
A team of 24 officers, including computer experts from the Ministry of Finance, arrived at the Volkswagen Canada campus in Toronto’s eastern suburbs at 9:30 a.m., seeking evidence to support a newly laid charge against Volkswagen AG, the automaker’s German parent company, for violating Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act.
When asked if the company was co-operating with the warrant, ministry investigator Warren Korol said: “I’m not certain yet, we’re still searching.”
As of noon, they had not removed anything, but an agent could be seen carrying a large cooler into the building, and a ministry van was parked by the reception door.
“In any search warrant, there’s always a list of things we’re searching for, and if we find those things, yes, we’ll be seizing them,” Korol said.
The information to obtain the search warrant, which includes details of what the investigators were seeking, is sealed to the public until it has been fully executed. The raid was not co-ordinated with other jurisdictions, nor were there simultaneous raids, Korol said.
Thomas Tetzlaff, Volkswagen Canada’s manager of public relations, said the investigators came unannounced, and that the company is co-operating. “We’ll continue to co-operate with them until they have the information they require,” he said. He said he did not know if they had taken anything yet.
“This kind of came out of the blue for us,” he said. “As such, it’s not something we find worrisome or troubling.