The Sigma 50/1.4 is very hit and miss. I've read lots of reviews which slate it for its AF inconsistencies. However, I took the gamble and went for it, making sure I ordered it from a retailer with a good returns policy. The lens they sent me front focussed by a huge margin, but with manual focus it showed huge potential. I got it replaced, and that one has very accurate AF. Never inconsistent, no need for AFMA. At any aperture, the results are truly amazing. The only time it doesn't produce results where its bristling with detail is when shooting wide open near MFD.
I have used the Canon 50/1.4 quite a bit, and the Canon's advantages are its tiny, and it has faster AF (but it's no more accurate). The Sigma's advantages are its much sharper, and it has a much more creamy, beautiful looking bokeh. From what I can see, the bokeh of the Sigma really is a match for the 50L, and at f1.4 a good copy of the Sigma is sharper than the 50L.
I've never noticed any focus shift when stopping down, and before reading this thread I'd not heard of anyone associating the Sigma 50/1.4 with focus shift.