Still Dying for a Living: Corporate Criminal Liability After the Westray Mine Disaster
October 17, 2013
In 1992, an underground explosion at the Westray Mine in Plymouth, Nova Scotia, killed twenty-six miners. Although the owners of the mine were charged criminally, no one was convicted, largely because it was deemed too difficult to determine legal responsibility. More than a decade after the Westray disaster, the federal government introduced revisions to the Criminal Code aimed at strengthening corporate criminal liability. Bill C-45, dubbed the Westray bill, requires employers to ensure a safe workplace and attributes criminal liability to organizations for seriously injuring or killing workers and/or the public. Yet, while the federal government declared the Westray bill an important step, the law has thus far failed to produce a crackdown on corporate crime. In Still Dying for a Living, Steven Bittle turns a critical eye on Canada’s corporate criminal liability law. Drawing theoretical inspiration from Foucauldian and neo-Marxist literatures and interweaving in-depth interviews and parliamentary transcripts, Bittle reveals how legal, economic, and cultural discourses surrounding the Westray bill downplayed the seriousness of workplace injury and death, effectively characterizing these crimes as regrettable but largely unavoidable accidents. As long as the primary causes of workplace injury and death are not properly scrutinized, Bittle argues, workers will continue to die in the pursuit of earning a living.
Still Dying for a Living: Corporate Criminal Liability After the Westray Mine Disaster, by Steven Bittle. Vancouver, BC : UBC Press, 2012. 237 p. ISBN 9780774823609 (pbk.)
For more information on the availability of this title from the University of Toronto Libraries catalogue, click here.