The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, which found a forestry company liable for the death of a contract worker employed on its premises.
In West Fraser Mills Ltd. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal et al., the Supreme Court upheld a claim of workers compensation against a non-employer, West Fraser Mills Ltd., which as the license holder of the area of the forest where the accident occurred was the “owner” of the workplace as defined in Part 3 of B.C.’s Workers Compensation Act.
E, a tree faller, died after being struck by a rotting tree while working within the area of a forest licence held by the appellant. West Fraser was not E’s employer, as E worked for an independent contractor. After investigating the incident, the Workers’ Compensation Board found that West Fraser Mills had failed to ensure that all activities of the forestry operation were planned and conducted in a manner consistent with s. 26.2(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, adopted by the Board pursuant to s. 225 of the Act.