"Arthur Moore exposes his workers to asbestos, a deadly substance, without protection and upon forged hazardous-material reports that conceal the danger. He exploits young recovering addicts as his workforce." So begins WCB v Moore a unanimous judgment issued to-day by the BC Court of Appeal. After several unsuccessful attempts to have Moore stop this practice, the Workers' Compensation Board obtained a court injuction. But Moore continued and WCB made an application to the BC Supreme Court citing Moore "doing business as AM Environmental" for contempt of the injunction.
The BC Supreme Court judge refused to make the contempt order on the basis that the reference to "doing business as AM Environmental" created an ambiguity or confusion. WCB appealed to the Court of Appeal.
Writing on behalf f the court, Mr. Justice Donald reviewed the law relating to contempt:
16] A concise and most helpful summary of the principles applicable to the interpretation of an order in contempt proceedings is found in R. (Mark Dean Harris) v. The Official Solicitor to the Supreme Court,  EWHC Admin 798 (Q.B.D.), wherein Mr. Justice Munby stated (at para. 68):
(i) No order will be enforced by committal unless it is expressed in clear, certain and unambiguous language. So far as this is possible, the person affected should know with complete precision what it is that he is required to do or to abstain from doing.
(ii) It is impossible to read implied terms into an injunction.
(iii) An order should not require the person to whom it is addressed to cross-refer to other material in order to ascertain his precise obligation. Looking only at the order the party enjoined must be able to find out from the four walls of it exactly what it is that he must not do.
(iv) It follows from this that, as Jenkins J said in Redwing Ltd v. Redwing Forest Products Ltd (1947), 177 LT 387 at p. 390,
a Defendant cannot be committed for contempt on the ground that upon one of two possible constructions of an undertaking being given he has broken that undertaking. For the purpose of relief of this character I think the undertaking must be clear and the breach must be clear beyond all question.
He then went on to find that in the case before him, the terms of the injuction, i.e. the conduct that was proscribed, were very clear. As to the name, he concluded that "doing business as AM Environmental" was surplus as AM Environmental was not a legal entity separate from Moore. The judge also pointed out that Moore did not plead confusion, nor did he appear at the injuction hearing or at the appeal. It was also clear on the record that Moore was at all times aware that WCB had issued an injuction.
The judge found:
I would, in conclusion, find Mr. Moore guilty of contempt. His misconduct grievously endangered workers under his direction. Unless he can in some way mitigate his indifference to the lives and safety of his workers and his open defiance of the injunction, his misconduct requires a severe response.
A warrant was issued for Moore's arrest and the matter was referred back to the lower court to assess a penalty.