Loblaws off the hook – Business News – Castanet.net

Photo: The Canadian Press

One of the country’s largest retailers is off the hook for the devastating collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh six years ago.

In a decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear a group of Bangladeshi victims and relatives who wanted to sue Loblaws over the tragedy.

The key issue in the lawsuit was whether a Canadian court had jurisdiction to consider the claim — of importance to companies that source product from abroad.

Both Ontario’s Superior Court and Court of Appeal had previously denied the plaintiffs class-action certification in their quest for $2 billion in compensation.

The case arose out of the collapse of the nine-storey Rana Plaza on April 24, 2013, in Dhaka.

In all, 1,130 people were killed and 2,520 others seriously injured. Two of the clothing-manufacturing companies caught up in the collapse were Pearl Global and New Wave, which was under contract to supply Loblaws with apparel for its Joe Fresh brand.

Two years after the tragedy, Arati Rani Das, who lost a limb and whose mother was killed in the collapse, and three other Bangladeshi citizens launched a class action in Ontario against Loblaws and three affiliates.

In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs argued Loblaws was responsible for worker safety. They alleged the company knew workplaces in Bangladesh were dangerous, and had undertaken to ensure the buildings in which Joe Fresh garments were made were safe.

Superior Court Justice Paul Perell decided in July 2017 that Bangladesh’s laws applied. As such, he concluded the claim had been filed too late, and that Loblaws owed no “duty of care” to the proposed class members.

“The imposition of liability (on Loblaws) is unfair given that the defendants are not responsible for the vulnerability of the plaintiffs, did not create the dangerous workplace, had no control over the circumstances that were dangerous, and had no control over the employers or employees or other occupants of Rana Plaza,” Perell said.

On appeal, Ontario’s top court agreed.

This content was originally published here.

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