Saskatchewan Government Insurance is suing the bars that served alcohol to the woman convicted in an impaired driving crash that killed a family of four.

Catherine McKay pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death in the January 2016 collision that killed parents Jordan and Chanda Van de Vorst, and their two young children, Kamryn and Miguire. McKay was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Court heard McKay’s blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the fatal crash.

SGI says the two Saskatoon bars that served McKay alcohol that night – Industrial Kitchen & Bar and Crackers Licensed Cocktail & Dinning Room – have a responsibility to prevent customers from driving impaired.

“This legal action is about accountability for a collision that killed an entire family. The person who chooses to drive impaired clearly is accountable for their actions. But we need to recognize that if a person is impaired, their judgment is also impaired. Those around them need to take action to ensure no lives are put at risk,” Earl Cameron, executive vice-president of SGI, said in a news release Thursday.

“When a business is selling alcohol for profit, there is a higher degree of responsibility to prevent the customers they serve from posing a danger to others and themselves. Because no one stopped Catherine McKay from getting behind the wheel, four people died.”

Cameron added SGI will pursue similar actions against other liquor establishments in comparable cases when the evidence supports it.

“This is a case of contributory negligence. There are laws in place to hold impaired drivers accountable, with jail time, fines and other consequences. We believe that the circumstances of this case are so egregious and the results so tragic, that the establishments who failed to take sufficient actions to prevent it need to be held accountable,” Cameron said, adding SGI also plans to file suit against McKay.

This is the first time SGI has pursued a legal action of this nature against liquor establishments, though such action is not unprecedented.