Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 17, 2010 05:30 ET

Labour Movement Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Hogg’s Hollow Disaster

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 17, 2010) - In 1960, the horrific deaths of five Italian immigrant workers who died while constructing a tunnel produced such public outrage, mobilizations in the Italian community, and massive union organizing that health and safety laws were forever changed.

Unaware of their rights and desperate for paid employment, the workers became victims of an employer who continuously violated almost every safety regulation governing the Toronto tunnel project.

"Today we honour the victims of the 1960 disaster and note that they have become a potent symbol of the importance of rigorously enforced health and safety laws," says OFL President Sid Ryan.

"But while vitally important progress has been made, workplace dangers continue to exist for too many of Ontario's more than seven million workers."

Last December 24th, four workers fell to their deaths when their scaffolding collapsed. A fifth worker barely survived. The OFL called for an immediate criminal investigation utilizing "Westray" Bill C-45.

The Bill amended the Criminal Code of Canada to allow for criminal prosecutions of corporate executives, directors and managers who act wrongfully or neglect to uphold their responsibilities to make and keep workplaces healthy and safe. In the six years since it was passed more than 400 Ontario workers have been killed on the job and nearly two million injured, yet not one employer in Ontario has been prosecuted.

"We are at another turning point in health and safety protection. C-45 must become routinely integrated into provincial responses to death and injury. Too many irresponsible employers and managers will only get the message when they too have their futures at stake," said Ryan.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Sid Ryan
    416.209.0066 (mobile)