The BC Federation of Labour is not pleased with news that the Crown will not be laying any charges in the Babine Forest Products explosion and fire that happened two years ago in Burns Lake.
President Jim Sinclair stated that significant steps must be taken to restore confidence in worker protection in British Columbia.
“A detailed investigation report was released that clearly shows the incident was preventable, that risks were known and that necessary measures were not taken,” he says.
“And yet, in the face of an apparent wall of evidence, the crown has chosen to not lay charges.”
Two people were killed in the explosion and Sinclair notes the investigator in charge recommended charges be laid, but the Crown dismissed the recommendations.
Sinclair says in order to restore confidence in worker safety, he has called on the Premier to ensure:
- A public review of the investigation is completed, including the decision to not lay charges.
- The imposition of maximum penalties available under the Workers’ Compensation Act, with those penalties invested in forest safety training in the region.
- All responsible Crown agencies, including the Criminal Justice Branch, the WCB and the BC Safety Authority, report within six months to British Columbians on a new process to ensure investigation into workplace incidents are conducted in a thorough, timely, and effective manner, and that result in charges were warranted.
Sinclair adds the Crown’s failure to bring charges leaves the families without much needed closure.