Union organization wants better enforcement of criminal safety offences under Bill C-45, releases guide for police

by Dentons
Contact

[author: ]

The Canadian Labour Congress (“CLC”), an association of unions, has published a guide for police use when investigating corporate criminal negligence in cases of serious workplace injuries and fatalities. The Guide is entitled, Death & Injury at Work: A Criminal Code Offence. In a press statement issued in May 2012, the President of the CLC indicated that the CLC’s motivation to produce the guide arose from an increasing sense that police are too rarely moving to enforce the corporate criminal negligence laws introduced into the Criminal Code in 2004 through Bill C-45.

The Bill C-45 amendments introduced a legal duty for all persons “directing the work of others” to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of workers and the public – in effect, it made certain safety breaches criminal issues. Since 2004, Bill C-45 charges have been laid in only six cases. It would seem that the CLC wants to see more Bill C-45 charges and, certainly, some Canadian unions have been actively encouraging police to charge employers criminally after serious workplace accidents.

Of perhaps the greatest interest to employers is the section of the guide that sets out the CLC’s 10 recommendations for police during an investigation into the possibility of Bill C-45 charges. A brief summary of these recommendations follows:

1. Take control of the scene. The guide emphasizes the need to avoid key evidence being lost or tampered with by ensuring that a workplace accident is treated as any other crime scene.

2. Call for back-up. The guide suggests that the first police officer on the scene should notify the Ministry of Labour to send an inspector, if one is not already en route.

3. Understand the corporate structure. The guide recommends that police understand an organization’s hierarchy by clearly identifying people by name, title and function.

4. Identify the victims and relevant players. The guide recommends that police specifically identify the members of the joint health and safety committee and company health and safety staff that may have relevant evidence and information.

5. Identify relevant evidence. The guide notes that police must understand what was being done and why it was being done at the time of the accident and encourages police to track down relevant internal correspondence, memos, emails, records of meetings, policies and procedures in order to understand what was known by the organization, the decisions that were made and by whom. The guide also notes that some of this information may be kept and stored off-site.

6. Nature of relevant evidence. The guide notes some of the unique documents that police should request in the case of workplace injuries or deaths such as site plans, work plans, health and safety programs and minutes of joint health and safety committee meetings. The guide also suggests that the police quickly identify and speak with the organization’s manager in charge of health and safety.

7. Experts will assist after identifying relevant evidence. The guide encourages police to contact and work with experts once they have gathered evidence, as those experts may be able to establish a link not identified by the police – i.e. an expert opinion as to why a machine malfunctioned.

8. Fundamental questions. The guide encourages police to ask themselves questions when investigating individuals acting on behalf of an organization such as, “what did they know?”, “when did they know it?, “what should they have known?”, “what was done about it?”

9. No due diligence. The guide states that police must assess the degree of corporate failure to address the hazard that resulted in the harm.

10. Arrest/criminal charges. The guide emphasizes that unlike traditional crimes, charges or arrests should be made only after a very thorough investigation has been completed and access to off-site evidence is in the hands of police.

One is left to wonder whether the police will be interested in taking advice from a union organization with respect to criminal investigations. However, the recommendations contained within the CLC’s guide, at the least, provide employers with a sense of when unions will push for criminal safety charges against employers.

To review the full guide, please click here: http://www.canadianlabour.ca/sites/default/files/death-and-injury-at-work-en.pdf

To review the press statement, please click here: : http://www.canadianlabour.ca/national/news/clc-releases-guide-investigating-corporate-negligence-workplace-may-9-20th-anniversary

 

Written by:

Dentons
Contact
more
less

Dentons on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.