Arc Flash and Due Diligence: Bill C45

blog author iconBarry Fraser
date icon2021 / 11 / 30
blog views icon842
Arc Flash and Due Diligence: Bill C45


What is Bill C-45? 

How does Bill C-45 affect electrical workers? 

How do I show due diligence? 

Let’s jump right in! 



Bill C-45, Due Diligence...

If you are a manager, superintendent, supervisor or foreman you most likely know this, but let’s have a quick review of the highlights…

and think of them from an electrical worker’s perspective who’s engaged in many various aspects of the very diversified electrical discipline in your plant or facility.

Bill C-45, Due Diligence is a direct result of the Westray Mine Disaster of May 9, 1992 that took 27 lives and changed the lives of hundreds of people forever.

Today, Bill C-45 is federal legislation that amended the Canadian Criminal Code and became law on March 31, 2004. 

The Bill established new legal duties for workplace health and safety and imposed serious penalties for violations that result in injuries or death. 

It provided new rules for attributing criminal liability to organizations, including corporations, their representatives and those who direct the work of others... read “Supervisors”.

Bill C-45 charges and convictions

Below are a few examples of electrical convictions under Bill C-45:

Following an arc flash incident in 2008, Ontario Power Generation Inc. pleaded guilty and was fined $100,000 for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

Following an arc flash incident in 2018, an Ontario electrical company was fined a total of $60,000 after three workers suffered burns on the job due to an arc flash. The company will pay a $55,000 fine, while the supervisor was fined $5,000.


Bill C-45 added Section 217.1 to the Criminal Code which reads:

"217.1 Everyone who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task."

Bill C-45 also added Sections 22.1 and 22.2 to the Criminal Code imposing criminal liability on organizations and their representatives for negligence (22.1) and other offences (22.2).

Due Diligence

Failure to prove that you have been duly diligent in complying with occupational health and safety legislation can result in significant penalties.

“Due diligence is the level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances”.

Due diligence is demonstrated by your actions before an incident occurs, not after the fact.

A competent worker is someone who is adequately qualified, suitably trained, and has sufficient experience to safely perform his or her work. A competent worker is not considered to require direct supervision.

Check out a few different training options here --> Electrical Safety Training

How does it affect electrical workers?

Due Diligence includes components or factors such as being deemed qualified & competent, risk & hazard analysis and recognition, electrical safety training, task procedures, safe work plans, specific PPE, etc.

Should an incident occur how would you answer the following questions in an inquiry situation?  

Would you be comfortable with your present Electrical Safety Program (ESP)?  

Do you even have one?

In determining whether your defence of “due diligence” is valid, a judge or jury considers three main factors:

  1. Foreseeable — could a reasonable person have foreseen that something could go wrong?
  2. Preventable — was there an opportunity to prevent the injury or incident?
  3. Control — who was the responsible person present who could have prevented the incident or incident?

We all need to do everything in our collective powers to ensure we are all safe at work.

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What does this mean for Arc Flash Studies?

As mentioned above there are several components and factors when assessing Due Diligence.

Although there is nothing that spells out “arc flash regulations" it is a tool that will certainly help when trying to provide Due Diligence.

An arc flash study will help highlight the hazard, provide values of the arc flash and shock hazards and provide work distance and specific PPE to all your team members.

To learn more about arc flash studies check out our blog: Arc Flash Studies: A Guide for Industry Leaders



I hope this article has helped you get a better understanding of Bill C-45 and how it relates to arc flash studies.

Do you know anyone else that would benefit from this blog? Use the share buttons below to share the content. 

If you have any questions, you can always reach out to me at

Looking To Learn More About Arc Flash Studies?

Download our free Definitive Guide to Arc Flash Studies to help get a more detailed understanding of the potential arc flash hazard at your facility.

Comments (1)
  1. Affordable electricians Tampa Affordable electricians Tampa
    Great article blog post. A lot more electric companies shouldn't ignore information on Bill C -45. Keep up the great work!
    1. electricians in coachella valley electricians in coachella valley
      Thanks Barry for sharing this information on Bill C-45
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