Shanghai Company Must Appear in Alberta on OHS Charges

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A storage tank collapsed, killing two workers and seriously injuring two others. The Crown charged three companies with OHS violations, including one based in Shanghai. After missing two court appearances, an attorney for this company eventually appeared in court, arguing that the company hadn’t been properly “served,”–that is, informed of the charges—and so didn’t have to participate in the trial. The trial court agreed but the appeals court overturned that decision. Once the attorney appeared on the company’s behalf in court and at a pre-trial conference, the company was properly before the court and had to appear for trial. Otherwise, a company actively involved in business in Canada but without a physical presence here would be able to escape possible liability for wrongdoing, explained the court [Alberta v. Sinopec Shanghai Engineering Co., [2011] A.J. No. 291, March 16, 2011].