Law of the Year
On Jan. 1, 2011, the fines for OHS violations increased again after being doubled on July 1, 2010. In addition, repeat violations can now be penalized more harshly.
Case of the Year
Landscaper Found Guilty of Criminal Negligence in Worker’s Death
The Court of Québec found a landscape contractor guilty of criminal negligence under the changes made to the Criminal Code by Bill C-45. He was operating a backhoe, when its brakes failed and he collided with a worker, who died. Experts confirmed that the vehicle was 30 years old, very poorly maintained and that the brakes were completely non-functional. The court concluded that, in neglecting to perform maintenance on the backhoe, the contractor markedly departed from the standard of care expected of a prudent and diligent person [R. v. Scrocca, 2010 QCCQ 8218 (CanLII), Sept. 27, 2010].
Other Notable Case
Workers’ Comp Benefit Reduction Rules Discriminate by Age
The workers’ comp payments of a 64-year-old worker were reduced by 25% from the second year of the date of his back injury, 50% from the third year and then 75% from the fourth year. He argued that these aged-based reductions were discriminatory. The Québec Workers’ Compensation Tribunal agreed, ruled that reducing injured workers’ benefits based on age violates both provincial human rights legislation and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms [Cote v. Traverse Rivière-du-Loup, St.-Saint-Siméon,  QCCLP 2074 (CanLII), March 16, 2010].