B.C. Minister of Labour on decision not to pursue charges in the Lakeland (PG) mill explosion

Statement by Minister Shirley Bond on the Criminal Justice Branch's Lakeland decision.

  • Apr. 15, 2014 9:00 a.m.

VICTORIA – Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour made the following statement today on the Criminal Justice Branch’s decision not to pursue charges in the Lakeland (PG) mill explosion:

“I am deeply sorry for what the families and our community have had to go through and we owe it to them to make sure we prevent this from ever happening again. We started that work immediately after the Babine investigation, and proceeded in a careful way to ensure no actions compromised Crown’s process on the Lakeland investigation. Now that Crown has made its decision we are able to take the next steps necessary to protect worker safety.

Government is continuing to take comprehensive action to protect worker safety by:

* making sure WorkSafeBC’s investigations are handled correctly for future prosecutions.* ensuring that what happened at these two sawmills doesn’t happen again and risk the lives of workers.* driving change in the culture and process at WorkSafeBC.

To make sure we know if anything could have prevented what happened at Lakeland, I have asked Attorney General Suzanne Anton to direct B.C.’s Chief Coroner to conduct an inquest into the explosion at Lakeland. I am advised that she has done so.

As the Coroner stated about her inquest into the explosion at Babine, an inquest is ‘the best venue to address the many concerns and questions raised about how and why the explosion happened and what can be done to prevent a similar event in the future.’

While we await the results of her inquest, we need to move forward even more decisively on reform at WorkSafeBC. This will build on the action we have already taken. The chair and board of WorkSafeBC have agreed to appoint Gord Macatee as administrator to drive that change. Mr. Macatee is an experienced executive with service at the most senior levels of government.

This is why I met earlier today with both of them to provide a letter of direction on the agenda of change Mr. Macatee will lead. That direction includes:

1. Ensuring future investigations are handled correctly by implementing recommendations from the Dyble Report.2. Ensuring our sawmills are safe workplaces by implementing the 90-day action plan on sawmill safety.3. Review workers’ compensation boards in other jurisdictions, to understand the merits of and determine best practices in organizational structures specifically relating to the separation of enforcement vs. regulation.4. Develop a plan for implementing a world-class inspection and investigation regime, incorporating best practices, workforce review and enhanced training.5. Provide a single status report by July 1, consolidating the plans and reports noted in items 1 to 4 above.6. Conduct the search for and finalize the appointment of a new and permanent CEO.

I will review progress on all of this on a regular basis and meet with WorkSafeBC at the beginning of July, to assess progress and whether further steps are required.

Families and friends of the victims of the Lakeland and Babine explosions are continuing to grieve. Together, we are addressing the pressing need to both restore confidence in WorkSafeBC investigations and to make sure workers and families never again face circumstances like those at Babine and Lakeland.”

For a copy of Minister Shirley Bond’s letter to WorkSafeBC Board Chair George Morfitt: http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/wab/pdf/April14_Letter_to_WorkSafeBC.pdf

 

Just Posted

Friends of Gable Beach concerned with District of Lake Country’s proposal

Carr’s Landing residents oppose the district’s latest solution to Gable Beach

Greyhound stop in Oyama gets cut

Expanded regional transit replacement option for Lake Country

Heavy snowfall for Coquihalla

Kelowna - Snowfall is expected to continue on the highway until Sunday

Lake Country budget approved

Lake Country’s 2018 Operating and Capital Budget was approved Tuesday night

Serious injuries sustained in Peachland collision

Both drivers were send to hospital yesterday after a head-on collision

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

B.C. Winter Games athletes work for gold in the last full day of competition

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kim Boutin named Canada’s flag bearer for closing ceremony

Two more medals for Canada, including the bronze in men’s hockey

Team Canada’s Dave Duncan apologizes after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

Duncan, his wife Maja and Canadian technical coach William Raine detained by South Korean police

Most Read