Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut January 17, 2017 - 10:00 am

Nunavut court will hear CHARS worker safety charges in March

WSCC charged company, subcontractors constructing the Canadian High Arctic Research Station with safety violations

This is how the construction site at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station looked in September 2016. (FILE PHOTO)
This is how the construction site at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station looked in September 2016. (FILE PHOTO)

More than six months after the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission laid charges against the company constructing Cambridge Bay’s Canadian High Arctic Research Station and some of its subcontractors in connection with a worker’s injury that took place in August 2015, the case is still before the courts.

Last week, when the Nunavut Court of Justice sat in Cambridge Bay, the case—involving charges against EllisDon, Kitnuna Projects Inc. and manager Dan Cress, Best Choice Construction (RB) Ltd., and EXP Services Inc. along with Abraham Leonard Houwelling, Justin McDonnell and Rod Osmond—was put forward to March 6 in assignment court—basically a date reserved for administrative discussions, Nunatsiaq News has learned.

In September 2016, the WSCC said the charges involved “multiple counts” alleging breaches of the Safety Act, including “failure to ensure adequate instruction to workers in the safe performance of their duties,” and failure to take “reasonable precaution” to ensure worker safety.

Companies and individuals have been named in the charges, which were laid in July 2016, roughly a year after the alleged Safety Act contraventions.

The case was to be heard during the week of Sept. 19, 2016—and then postponed to Jan. 9, when it was put to assignment court.

The Canadian High Arctic Research Station, or CHARS, a new facility being built by the federal government to house scientists’ offices, laboratories, a traditional knowledge centre and community space, will act as a hub for Arctic research in Canada.

The massive 50,000-square-foot facility is set to open in July 2017 to coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday.

It is expected to cost $142.4 million to build, $46.2 million to ramp up and then, from 2018 on, cost about $26.5 million per year to operate.

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