Aurora pleads ‘not guilty’ in bear mauling

Aurora Geosciences is going to fight five negligence charges filed under the Yukon’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Aurora Geosciences is going to fight five negligence charges filed under the Yukon’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The charges stem from a bear mauling last year.

Twenty-eight year-old Jean-Francois Page was flagging land for Aurora on April 28, 2006. He wandered too close to two grizzly cubs.

Their mother attacked; Page died soon after.

“The radio message he sent to his co-worker suggests that he stayed calm and that he tried to pacify the bear, as his handout notes recommended,” his Quebec-based family wrote in a June 1 letter to the Yukon News.

Page had been trained to manage bear encounters.

On July 17, the exploration company that sent him into the bush that fateful day appeared in court to answer the five charges.

“My instructions from Aurora are to enter not guilty pleas to all charges,” said lawyer Keith Parkkari.

Aurora Geosciences vice-president Mike Power appeared on behalf of the company, wearing a black suit and maroon tie and a full but trim black beard.

Lead prosecutor for the Crown Zeb Brown did not appear.

The five charges laid on April 25th reference sections 3 and 7 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The charges allege that Aurora Geosciences failed to properly train, equip, and supervise Page. Furthermore, the charges state that Page was not directed to follow proper work procedures, and that the company placed him in an unsafe situation.

Neither the Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board’s report, which forms the basis of the charges, nor the coroner’s report have been publicly released.

The territory’s chief coroner, Sharon Hanley, previously told the Yukon News that she did not want to release her findings while the case was in progress.

If the case dragged on too long she might change her mind, she added.

Hanley is out of the office this week.

Page’s family has made it clear on several occasions that they do not blame Aurora Geosciences for his death.

They would like to see a multi-stakeholder review of preventative and emergency measures for workers in the bush.

“The forest is a very special workplace and the laws that oversee it are still too evasive,” Page’s family wrote.

The seven-day trial for Aurora Geosciences is set to begin November 15.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Chief Superintendent Scott Sheppard of the Yukon RCMP speaks to media in Whitehorse on Nov. 19, about Project MUSKRAT which has been ongoing since December 2017. Yukon RCMP have charged five Whitehorse individuals and seized $450,000 in cash along with drugs, prohibited weapons and stolen goods after acting Nov. 4 on search warrants obtained during the three-year-long investigation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Yukon RCMP seize $450,000 and stolen goods in Whitehorse drug bust

Five individuals have been arrested and released on conditions.

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read