Icefield tour bus operator charged under Alberta OHS Act in fatal rollover

The tour bus company involved in a 2020 Icefield accident in Jasper National Park has been charged under the Alberta Occupational Safety and Health Act, while the RCMP criminal investigation has concluded.

Brewster Inc. faces eight charges under the OHS Act, related to “failure to control side moraine slope grade hazard,” failure to require seat belt use, failure to maintain seat belts, and failure to verify safety. team security.

The case is scheduled to be heard in a Jasper provincial court on June 23.

Read more:

No Answers 1 Year After Columbia Icefield Tour Bus Crash in Jasper National Park

On July 18, 2020, an ice rover at the Columbia Icefield rolled down an embankment with 25 people inside. The capsize killed three passengers and 14 others suffered life-threatening injuries after the big-wheeled red-and-white Ice Explorer lost control en route to the Athabasca Glacier, about 100 kilometers southeast of Jasper, Alta.

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“What these current OHS charges are meant to do is implement where a company has failed in the health and safety of people,” Basil Bansal, the attorney for a family who was on the ice tracker, told Global News. saw a member die during the accident. .

Bansal’s clients are one of many plaintiffs in the civil cases and class action lawsuits stemming from the accident that Brewster faces.


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No Answers 1 Year After Columbia Icefield Tour Bus Crash in Jasper National Park


No Answers 1 Year After Columbia Icefield Tour Bus Crash in Jasper National Park – Jul 18, 2021

He said the charges reveal OHS’s view of Brewster’s responsibility.

“We know the injuries that were sustained and the life that was lost. But this really shows where the company was negligent and what it could have done to prevent it,” said Bansal, a partner at the Edmonton law firm Diamond and Diamond.

“So now we have some answers.”

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Bansal said his clients and plaintiffs in other claims have been waiting for these answers for nearly two years.

“It is good to see that the government has taken this seriously. These charges show the negligence of the company and it goes in the right direction,” he said.


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More Columbia Icefield Capsize Survivors File Lawsuit Against Tour Operator


More Columbia Icefield Survivors File Lawsuit Against Tour Operator – October 1, 2020

“But unfortunately, our customers’ lives will not be the same.”

A Friday news release from the Alberta government also said the criminal investigation was conducted separately from Alberta Occupational Safety and Health.

Pursuit, the company that runs the Icefield bus tours, said in an emailed statement that it cannot comment on details of the case due to legal proceedings.

“We continue to support a transparent, multi-agency investigation into this tragic accident,” he said.

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Read more:

7 More Columbia Icefield Capsize Survivors Near Jasper File Lawsuit Against Tour Operator

The RCMP is aware of the charges under the OHS Act and shared all the information it gathered with the OHS investigation, according to the news release.

A final RCMP report on the transfer has not been made public, but was submitted to Alberta prosecutors in April.

The Crown will determine if the evidence warrants criminal charges.


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Former drivers say Columbia Icefield tour buses are riddled with safety and poor maintenance issues


Former drivers say Columbia Icefield tour buses are riddled with safety and poor maintenance issues – Jul 24, 2020

Bansal said an RCMP report and possible criminal charges could provide more answers to questions customers have about the Athabasca Glacier capsize.

He said he has also been a previous passenger on the ice tracker and hopes the OHS charges will change the way Brewster and other tour companies operate.

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“The whole purpose of these OHS charges is to put in place measures like seat belts, driver training, logs and mechanical checks so these problems don’t happen again,” Bansal said.

–with files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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