Linda O’Leary, the wife of one of Canada’s most famous and flamboyant businessmen, could be facing more than a year in jail after being charged for her alleged role in a boat crash that killed two people.The Ontario Provincial Police announced the charges Tuesday, exactly one month after two boats collided at night on Lake Joseph, one of Canada’s most exclusive vacation locales.O’Leary, 56, has been charged with careless operation of a vessel under the Canada Shipping Act. Though the charge carries a maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment or a $1 million fine, O’Leary’s lawyer stressed Tuesday that it is not a criminal charge.“We find it certainly unusual that, where a cautious and experienced boater came in collision with an unlit craft on the dark and moonless night, that charges would flow from that,” said Brian Greenspan.“That’s not a criminal offence, period,” said Greenspan, one of Canada’s most-prominent criminal defence lawyers, “and it shouldn’t be characterized as criminal in any way.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Related Kevin O’Leary/YouTube/Sony The two separated for two years about a decade ago, but never got divorced and eventually reconciled. They have two grown children, Savannah, a director and producer in New York, and Trevor, a DJ. Today, Linda O’Leary serves as the vice-president of marketing for O’Leary wines and on the board of the National Ballet of Canada.The O’Learys have been summering on Lake Joseph, where the collision occurred, for at least 15 years. The family’s home there has been written up several times for its opulence, including once in The New York Times. “For anyone casually acquainted with Muskoka, what passes for a cottage these days may come as quite a shock,” the Times story read. “(R)ising like a wedding cake from the lakeshore, is a periwinkle-blue structure with white trim, wraparound cedar decks, three boat slips and a second-floor sun deck that is larger than some marinas here. And that is just the boathouse.”Though Richard Ruh is American and Linda O’Leary Canadian, his ties to Muskoka actually run much deeper than hers. The O’Learys bought their 14-acre waterfront property on Lake Joseph in 1994, according to a 2010 profile in the National Post. They built their 9,000 square-foot, 10-bedroom, 11-bathroom cottage on the property a decade later. The Ruh family, based in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, N.Y., has been travelling to the same lake since 1967, according to a long profile of the family published in Muskoka Life magazine earlier this year. Toronto Sun. Kevin O’Leary, seen on Lake Joseph. Businessman Kevin O’Leary behind the wheel of one of his boats on Lake Joseph. Details still murky on fatal boat crash involving celebrity tycoon Kevin O’Leary Water complicates the investigation into fatal boat crash involving Kevin O’Leary, expert says The charge stems from an incident in late August, when O’Leary was driving a boat on Lake Joseph in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Kevin O’Leary was a passenger, he said in a press release following the incident. Just before midnight, the boat collided with another vessel. The two casualties were Gary Poltash, a 64-year-old man from Florida, and Suzana Brito, a 48-year-old woman from Uxbridge, Ont. Three other people were taken to hospital and released, the OPP said.The driver of the other boat, Richard Ruh, 57, was charged with failure to exhibit a navigation light while underway. That charge, which also falls under the Canada Shipping Act, carries a set fine. Ruh received his provincial offence notice last week, said Carolle Dionne, staff sergeant for the OPP.Linda O’Leary has never been a public figure on the same scale as her husband, whose profile rose with his appearance as a venture capitalist on the reality TV show Dragons’ Den on CBC and later the American version, Shark Tank. But she’s also never been shy about showing off the lifestyle his business success has afforded her family. On Twitter and on her now deleted Instagram account, Linda O’Leary chronicled a lavish life in travel and riches — a villa in Rome, a fashion show in St. Barth’s, sunrise in St. Tropez.According to a profile published in Maclean’s in 2016, Linda and Kevin O’Leary met when Linda, then a university student, was working behind the reception desk at a Toronto squash club. In interviews over the years, she has described herself as the homemaker to her business titan husband. “I did the house and raised the kids, 100 per cent,” she told Maclean’s. “He made the financial decisions.” No one answered the phone at Ruh’s home or business Tuesday. A family physician and father of four, Ruh once told a local newspaper that parenthood was what he was “born to do.” Social media accounts operated under his daughters’ names show a huge clan of cousins and siblings vacationing in Muskoka—boating, diving off rocks, and lounging by the water — going back years. In 2018, dozens of Ruhs gathered on Lake Joseph to celebrate Ruh’s mother’s 90th birthday.Though he is American, if Ruh pleads guilty, he would still be required to pay the fine, said Nainesh Kotak, a personal injury lawyer in Toronto.Kotak said the OPP regularly lays charges that are not criminal. Even in fatal car collisions, drivers at fault will be charged based on their conduct rather than the impact, he said. “It doesn’t mean they’re going to be charged criminally just because the result is so extreme.”For his part, Greenspan said he is still waiting to receive disclosure to better understand the basis of the charges. When asked if Linda O’Leary had a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, as issued by Transport Canada, he replied, “I can assure you she has been an experienced and very, very experienced boater for many, many years who follows the safety regulations and all the requirements of boating to the letter of the law.”Linda O’Leary is scheduled to appear in a provincial offence court in Parry Sound on Oct. 29.