Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

March 19, 2007 11:07 ET

Death of Three Farm Workers: Canadian Labour Calls for a Criminal Investigation

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 19, 2007) - The Canadian Labour Congress calls on the Attorney General for British Columbia to open a criminal investigation into the case of three farm workers killed March 7th while being transported to work by their employer.

"There are provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada for cases where an employer appears to have shown a reckless disregard for workers' safety and life," explains Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

"Following many such high-profile cases, including the Westray mine's disaster in 1992, Canadians have struggled hard to get these provisions in the Criminal Code. They are there now. They should be used."

In a letter to minister Wally Oppal, Attorney General for British Columbia, Georgetti writes:

"Given the number of accidents resulting in death and injury of farm workers in the last five years, we urge you to appoint a special crown prosecutor to pursue charges under the corporate responsibility provisions of the Criminal Code," says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress in a letter to minister Wally Oppal, Attorney General for British Columbia.

"When an employer jeopardizes the health and safety of workers - as we have seen in this case - they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Knowingly overcrowding a van is a gross disregard for safety. And it does not seem to be an exception. Since 2001, when your government eliminated roadside spot checks of vehicles transporting farm workers, over forty workers have been injured and four killed in accidents in vehicles transporting them to and from work.

"Minister, it is time to get tough on employers who put workers in harm's way with such callous disregard for their safety while being transported to and from work."

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils. Web site:

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