This action arises from a motor vehicle accident. The defendant driver, Pellerin, was employed by the defendant Slavko Concrete Finishing at the time. Pellerin’s employment was governed by a collective agreement.
On January 31, 2013, Slavko sent Pellerin and other tradesmen to finish pouring concrete at a site in Petawawa. Pellerin lived in Ottawa. The collective agreement obligated Slavko to arrange for the transportation of its employees to distant construction sites. Despite this obligation, Pellerin drove himself in his personal vehicle from Ottawa to Petawawa. Prior to leaving Ottawa, Pellerin purchased gasoline for his car, stopped for a coffee, and may have done an errand. He then drove to Highway 17 on his way to Petawawa. He decided to stop for a break in the Town of Renfrew. He pulled into the left turning lane on Highway 17 and waited for an oncoming truck to pass. He then began his turn across the lane, where he struck the plaintiff’s vehicle which was travelling behind the truck. Pellerin was charged with failing to make a turn in safety and he paid the associated fine.
The total damages claimed by the plaintiff driver, plaintiff passenger, and FLA claimants was $3.6 million. Pellerin had limits of $2 million, which was paid into Court. The plaintiffs also sued Slavko as Pellerin’s employer. Justice Kane held that Pellerin was in the course of his employment at the time of the accident, and that Slavko was vicariously liable for his negligence. The Court disagreed that Slavko could only be vicariously liable for Pellerin after he arrived at the job site. Pellerin was being paid for his time in transit and mileage to and from Petawawa, pursuant to the collective agreement. Pellerin’s use of his personal vehicle did not establish that he was working outside the course of his employment. His planned stop for coffee and to stretch was not a “personal frolic” removing vicarious liability either.
Justice Kane further accepted that Pellerin could be considered Slavko’s agent pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior.