On October 31, 2013, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench
released the sentencing decision in R. v. XI Technologies
Inc., 2013 ABQB 651. A summary of the Alberta Court of
Appeal's decision affirming the employer's convictions
under Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Act can
The Court of Queen's Bench sentenced the employer to a fine
of $275,000, inclusive of the victim fine surcharge. The Crown had
proposed a fine of $400,000 inclusive of the victim fine surcharge.
The employer's counsel argued that figure was too high without
specifying a range of what would be appropriate.
The Court considered a number of aggravating factors, including:
the Legislature's increase to the maximum fines for a first
offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act from
$150,000 to $500,000; the goal of deterrence; and the fact that the
accident had resulted in a fatality. The Court also considered a
number of mitigating factors such as: the work environment was not
the usual workplace and the activities the employee was performing
were unique; the employer was not operating the machine to make a
profit; the risk of death was not probable; the employer had taken
sincere, albeit inadequate steps to ensure safety and so, although
the employer was negligent, it was not knowingly non-compliant with
safety standards or recklessly indifferent towards employee safety;
the employer was genuinely remorseful; the employer did not have a
prior record; and the employer had made a donation to fund a
This decision confirms that Alberta courts will continue to
impose significant fines for breaches of the OH&S legislation,
particularly where those breaches result in a fatality. It also
highlights that employers must remain vigilant to safety issues in
unexpected circumstances where employees are operating outside of
their core work functions and that the employer's ultimate
responsibility for safety cannot be delegated to employees or third
parties. Finally, this case provides that while employer donations
will be considered as a mitigating factor in sentencing, they will
not be credited dollar-for-dollar.
Dentons is a global firm driven to provide you with the
competitive edge in an increasingly complex and interconnected
marketplace. We were formed by the March 2013 combination of
international law firm Salans LLP, Canadian law firm Fraser Milner
Casgrain LLP (FMC) and international law firm SNR Denton.
Dentons is built on the solid foundations of three highly
regarded law firms. Each built its outstanding reputation and
valued clientele by responding to the local, regional and national
needs of a broad spectrum of clients of all sizes –
individuals; entrepreneurs; small businesses and start-ups; local,
regional and national governments and government agencies; and
mid-sized and larger private and public corporations, including
international and global entities.
Now clients benefit from more than 2,500 lawyers and
professionals in 79 locations in 52 countries across Africa, Asia
Pacific, Canada, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and
the CIS, the UK and the US who are committed to challenging the
status quo to offer creative, actionable business and legal
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances. Specific Questions relating to
this article should be addressed directly to the author.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).