Tag Archives: Suncor

Alberta Court of Appeal Closely Examines Employer’s Privilege Claims


The Alberta Court of Appeal recently released its decision in Alberta v. Suncor Energy Inc., 2017 ABCA 221.  The court upheld the importance of lawyer-client and litigation privileges, holding that they play a “central role” in the Canadian justice system,.  However, where an employee had been fatally injured, the court took a closer look at the factual basis for the employer’s claims of privilege over documents that formed part of its investigation into the death. 
On April 20, 2014, an employee of Suncor Energy Inc. (“Suncor”) was fatally injured at a worksite near Fort McMurray, Alberta.  The Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (“OHS”) officers issued a stop-work order that day.  Immediately after the accident, anticipating litigation, Suncor began an internal investigation and threw a privilege blanket over all information relating to the investigation.  Legal counsel for Suncor directed the investigation team to segregate all documents and to endorse all material as “privileged and confidential”. 
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