Province is an 'employer'

Negligence lawsuit by dependants of deceased Westray coal miners dismissed
|Canadian Employment Law Today

On May 9, 1992, 26 men died in an explosion at the Westray coal mine located in Plymouth, Nova Scotia. The relatives and dependants of the deceased miners received financial compensation from the Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Board because the miners’ employer, Curragh Inc., was a covered employer under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

The relatives and dependants (the respondents) subsequently brought an action under the Fatal Injuries Act against the attorneys general for Nova Scotia and Canada in negligence. The provincial attorney general (the applicant) brought an application before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to determine a question of law.

The applicant sought a dismissal of the action on the grounds that the respondents had received benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act and had no right of action against the applicant by virtue of the provisions of that act.