Chinese Company Must Stand Trial in Canada for OHS Violation


Two workers were killed and two others were seriously injured when a structure being built to support a storage tank’s roof collapsed. Three companies, including a China-based engineering company, were charged with OHS violations. At the first two court dates, no one appeared for the engineering company. The government asked to proceed against the company “ex-parte”—that is, despite its absence. A lawyer for the company finally appeared, arguing that the company was never properly served with the charges. The court ruled that although the government hadn’t properly served the charges, by having a lawyer represent the company in a Canadian court and address matters related to the charges, it “attorned” or agreed to be subject to the court’s jurisdiction [R. v. Sinopec Shanghai Engineering Co., [2010] A.J. No. 435, March 31, 2010].