N.W.T. power corp., construction company set to plea on charges related to worker deaths
Two N.W.T. companies charged under the territory's safety act have set new dates to enter pleas and, in at least one case, proceed to sentencing.
Nogha Enterprises Ltd., a construction company based out of Fort Simpson, N.W.T., faces five safety charges from an incident in December 2020.
Jeremy Dixon, representing Nogha on the case, told the territorial court Tuesday in Yellowknife that someone from the company would be there for the next date to enter its plea. He said that time should be set aside for sentencing as well.
That matter was put over to June 28.
The charges are related to an incident that led to Claude Fontaine's death.
On Dec. 8, 2020, Fontaine was operating an excavator to dig a pit at a gravel quarry outside Fort Simpson. When the sidewall of the water-filled pit collapsed, the excavator fell into the pit and Fontaine drowned, according to a press release from the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) when the commission laid charges.
Dixon told the judge that Fontaine's family had called into Tuesday's appearance and that the court should expect victim impact statements at the next sitting date.
The Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) also appeared in court Tuesday morning to put over its plea on safety charges.
Dixon, now on behalf of NTPC, said his client was requesting an adjournment so the two sides could come to an agreement on the facts of the case.
NTPC faces 11 charges from an incident on March 5, 2021, that led to Micheal Chinna's death.
Chinna, who had worked with the power corp. since 2018, was struck by a buildup of ice that fell from the Jackfish Power Plant.
Lawyers on that matter did not say whether the next date would also be a sentencing but they did say they expect the hearing to take between two and two-and-a-half hours.
That matter was set for May 31.
The lawyers on both cases could not say whether any of the safety charges the companies face would be dropped.
A third company, Arctic Canada Construction Ltd. (ARCAN), is scheduled to appear in territorial court on safety charges this week.
ARCAN faces seven charges related to an incident on April 22, 2021. A WSCC news release from when it laid charges said that a worker was thrown from a telehandler to the ground and suffered injuries as a result.
The news release didn't provide details on the injuries or how serious they were.