Canadian government can be sued over helicopter crash

March 18, 2011 at 8:04 am | Posted in Aerospace Law Interfaces, Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty


OTTAWA — The government has given up its fight to be shielded from a lawsuit filed by widows of a deadly helicopter crash — a move some say is a blow to Ottawa’s efforts to minimize its liability in cases involving possible negligence of government inspectors.

Transport Canada confirmed Monday the government is not appealing a decision of the B.C. Supreme Court, which ruled in December that the department can be found liable, in certain circumstances, to the public when it exercises its regulatory powers in a negligent way.

The Crown had argued that there was no cause of action against the government in this case because Ottawa cannot be sued for regulatory negligence in certain instances. The case involves Transport Canada’s relationship with the person who certified the helicopter as airworthy, despite an alleged checkered history as a maintenance engineer.

Although the specifics of this case involve Transport Canada, the principle of regulatory negligence and the government’s duty of care can be applied to other departments charged with keeping the public safe by enforcing safety regulations. [Full story]


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