The employer of the injured worker, not the owner of the
workplace, was required to report the worker's injury, the B.C.
Court of Appeal has held, in a decision that clarifies
employers' accident reporting obligations.
The worker was injured while working on a powerline owned by
British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority. The worker worked for a
contractor to B.C. Hydro.
The Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia issued
an order citing B.C. Hydro for failing to report the accident. The
order referred to section 172(1)(a) of the Workers
Compensation Act, which provides:
"An employer must immediately notify the Board of the
occurrence of any accident that (a) resulted in serious injury to
or the death of a worker".
B.C. Hydro argued that it was not the worker's
"employer". The Board maintained that the reporting
obligation applied to "an employer" – not
just the employer of the injured worker. "An
employer", said the Board, should include the owner of the
worksite because it had a significant connection to the worksite
and was in the best position to provide the timeliest notification
to the Board.
The court decided that the Board's decision was
unreasonable. B.C. Hydro was not legally required to report the
accident to the Board. The Act did not impose a duty on
owners to report accidents. Further, requiring owners to report
accidents under s. 172(1)(a) would effectively require owners to
carry out other obligations of "employers" under the Act
including investigating the accident, preparing an accident report,
and taking corrective actions. The legislature could not have
intended to impose all of those obligations on owners.
In conclusion, the worker's employer was required to report
the accident to the Board, but B.C. Hydro was not.
Although the B.C. Court of Appeal did not mention the Ontario
Court of Appeal's recent
Blue Mountain Resorts Limiteddecision, which dealt with
accident reporting obligations in Ontario, both decisions attempt
to bring clarity and consistency to the government's
interpretation of accident-reporting requirements.
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.
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.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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).