An 18-month prison sentence for criminal negligence in occupational health and safety

Release date: April 1st, 2019

A contractor was convicted of causing the death of his employee on a construction site. While replacing a water main, this employee was buried at the bottom of a trench, and the evidence revealed that certain legal and regulatory requirements had not been met to ensure that the work was safe. This contractor was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison. The judge first recalled that section 718.1 of the Criminal Code stipulates that the sentence must be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. Emphasizing that the use of incarceration must be moderate when it is intended to serve as a general deterrent, the judge concluded that a sentence of 18 months' imprisonment was reasonable, particularly in view of the significant injuries and after-effects sustained by the contractor at the time of the accident.

La Reine v. Fournier, 2018 QCCQ 6747, Justice Pierre Dupras

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