On March 1, 2018, the Court of Quebec found excavation contractor, Sylvain Fournier, guilty of manslaughter under the Criminal Code. In convicting Mr. Fournier, the court found that he had committed an “unlawful act” by not complying with provincial health and safety legislation. In this way, and as elaborated on in this article, the decision applies provincial health and safety laws in a new way in a criminal prosecution. It should be noted that Mr. Fournier was also found guilty of criminal negligence, but will only be sentenced for one offence, pursuant to a rule against multiple convictions for substantially the same offence.

In this article we discuss the new way that health and safety laws were used and applied in a criminal charge and the implications of the decision.

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