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Firm linked to China ordered to pay $1.5 million in deaths of workers

ST. ALBERT — A firm linked to a Chinese state-owned company was ordered Thursday to pay $1.5 million in penalties in the deaths of two foreign workers at an Alberta oilsands project.

SSEC Canada Ltd. pleaded guilty last September to three workplace safety charges in the deaths of the Chinese temporary foreign workers.

The men died in 2007 at Canadian Natural Resources’ Horizon project near Fort McMurray when an oil storage tank they were building collapsed.

Alberta Justice spokeswoman Michelle Davio said the penalty is the largest ever imposed by a judge in the province on workplace safety charges.

“The penalty is made up of a $200,000 fine and $1.3 million payment to the Alberta Law Foundation that will be used to support outreach and education programs for temporary foreign workers and for workers who are new to Alberta,” she said.

SSEC Canada is the Canadian subsidiary of Sinopec Shanghai Engineering Company Ltd.

The case involved a total of 53 charges involving three different companies, including Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources and Sinopec.

Charges against Sinopec were withdrawn. All 29 charges against CNRL were stayed, meaning the government can reactivate them at any time over one year.

 
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