A Nova Scotia court has imposed a “creative
sentence” for a violation of the Occupational Health and
Safety Act, requiring the company to make safety presentations
in addition to paying a fine.
A journeyman electrician employed by the company was
electrocuted when he made a “tragic, fatal
miscalculation”, deciding to work on an energized system. The
company was found guilty of failing to institute any policies or
practices that addressed workplace safety, but instead relying
exclusively on the employee being an experienced and
safety-conscious electrician. Further, the company did nothing to
ensure compliance with the Canadian Electrical Code.
The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act
allows for fines and “creative sentencing options” for
violations. The court imposed a fine of $35,000.00 on the company,
acknowledging that the company was very small and was now insolvent
and no longer operating.
In imposing a “creative sentence option”, the court
noted that the electrician’s death and the lack of formal
safety policies at the company “constitute a sobering message
for other small businesses in the construction trades.” The
court decided to impose a “community service order”
requiring the company to make a series of presentations on the
facts of the case as indicated in the trial decision, the
applicable regulatory requirements, the workplace safety issues
involved, and the required due diligence. The presentations must
total 150 hours and be completed in 18 months.
While Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health and Safety
Act permits such “creative sentencing options”,
other provinces such as Ontario do not. While at the same time
recognizing the obvious tragedy of the death, one can see that the
reputational damage associated with a conviction in such a case,
and 150 hours of presentations that recite the sad facts, is
obvious. In Ontario and a number of other provinces, the government
prosecutors often issue press releases that identify the company,
the violation and the amount of the fine.
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.
Ten days following the election, join us for a discussion with Gary Doer, former Canadian Ambassador to the US, and Gordon Giffin, US Ambassador to Canada under Bill Clinton, to discuss how the new President and Congressional makeup will shape US-Canada relations for years to come.
On November 8, 2016, the United States will go to the polls to elect their 45th president. Whether it is Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, this decision will profoundly shape American policy for the next four to eight years. As our largest trading partner and neighbour to the south, the next US administration will influence a broad range of policy issues that directly impact Canada. These include the future of NAFTA and the TPP, the Arctic and geo-politics, the renewal of the Softwood Lumber Agreement, and the energy sector.
On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Dentons hosted a panel discussion about the management of liabilities and risks associated with environmental crises, including potential liabilities for directors and officers and provided insight into risk and liability techniques associated with environmental crisis management.
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).