In a unique decision, an Alberta employer, Needoba Construction
Ltd., which pleaded guilty to the general charge of failing to
ensure, as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, the health
and safety of a worker, has received a sentence which includes 18
months of corporate probation and 200 hours of community service.
The employer was also sentenced to a fine of $11,150 including the
victim fine surcharge.
The decision stems from a 2012 incident where a worker fell over
6.5 metres through an uncovered stairwell opening at a residential
construction site. The worker sustained paralytic injuries. The
employer did not have a fall protection plan in place at the work
site. The employer was initially charged with 4 counts under the
Occupational Health and Safety Act (Alberta) but after it
entered a guilty plea on the general charge, the remaining counts
A corporate representative will be completing the community
service time with a non-profit organization called Hearts and
Hammers which renovates homes for people in need with mobility
While the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Alberta)
gives the court fairly broad discretion and powers to make other
orders in addition to, or as an alternative to, fines or
imprisonment, this is the first time that community service has
been ordered against an employer for an occupational health and
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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.
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