Affected workers

No criminal charges against Babine Forest Products

Ministry of Justice and WorkSafe BC in Burns Lake for private announcement to affected workers and family members

Representatives from the B.C. Ministry of Justice and WorkSafe BC were in Burns Lake on Jan. 10, 2014 to announce to workers and family members the long-awaited conclusion of Crown Council’s investigation into the 2012 mill explosion at Babine Forest Products (BFP) sawmill near Burns Lake.

Criminal Justice Branch communications counsel Neil MacKenzie said, “The crown has concluded there will not be any charges approved against Babine Forest Products in relation to the explosion and fire in January 2012.”

The Jan. 20, 2012 mill explosion killed two workers and injured many more.

“The meeting today in Burns Lake was with affected workers and family members to inform them of the decision,” MacKenzie added.

A written statement provided by the ministry of justice said the ministry did not believe charges related to the violations identified by WorkSafe BC would lead to a criminal conviction.

“Based on the evidence that would likely be available for presentation by Crown Counsel in court, the [Criminal Justice ] Branch has concluded that there is no substantial likelihood of conviction for any of the regulatory offences recommended by WorkSafeBC. The charge assessment analysis included consideration of a viable defence of due diligence.”

WorkSafe BC had referred the case, along with the Prince George Lakeland Mill explosion investigation, to Crown Counsel for consideration on Nov. 29, 2012 (see Lakes District News WorkSafe BC investigation into mill explosions complete).

At the time, the full report of the WorkSafe BC investigation into the explosion was kept confidential so as not to compromise the Crown Counsel investigation. Although WorkSafe BC was said to be in Burns Lake for a follow-up presentation to assembled invitees to the closed-door meeting, no statement has yet come from WorkSafe BC regarding the release of their complete report.