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Charges laid in 2021 workplace death at Base Plant

Last Updated Jan 11, 2023 at 10:35 am MST

A processing unit at Suncor Fort Hills facility in Fort McMurray, Alta., on September 10, 2018. Elliott Investment Management is seeking changes to the board of directors at Suncor Energy Inc. and is calling for a review of the company's executive leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Suncor Energy is facing multiple charges under the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act.

They’re in connection to the death of a contract worker at Base Plant in January 2021.

A total of 28 charges have been filed against Suncor and the Fort McMurray First Nations (FMFN) Group of Companies, which was known as the Christina River Company at the time of the incident.

None of the charges have been proven in court.

The Calgary-based oil and gas giant has 19 charges, while the FMFN faces nine.

On Jan. 13, 2021, 25-year-old Patrick Poitras of New Brunswick was driving a bulldozer at Fort Hills, when it fell through the ice on a tailings pond.

Rescue crews recovered his body more than two days later.

Both companies are accused of failing to follow safety protocols when Poitras was directed to operate the bulldozer on the thin ice.

Since 2014, at least 12 workers have died in workplace accidents on Site.

The most recent reported workplace death of a 26-year-old contractor came the morning of July 7, 2022.

READ MORE: Contract worker dies at Suncor Base Plant Mine in Alberta

Within a day, Mark Little stepped down as Suncor’s CEO and President, and from its board of directors.

Little made an earlier pledge to hold an independent safety review and make improvements to workplace safety.

READ MORE: Suncor must stop diagnosing and start executing workplace safety changes: Interim CEO

Suncor Energy and the FMFN are scheduled to appear in court in March 2023.