Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

April 27, 2011 16:03 ET

OFL: April 28, Day of Mourning for Workers Killed and Injured on the Job

Urgent and Focused Action Needed to Curb Mounting Death Toll

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 27, 2011) - The catastrophe of thousands of deaths and injuries in Ontario workplaces will galvanize workers, families and communities across the province as they commemorate the April 28 Day of Mourning for Workers Killed and Injured on the Job and demand government action to address the mounting tragedies.

With 490 fatality claims and 242,371 reported injuries in Ontario last year alone, OFL President Sid Ryan is warning police departments, Crown Attorneys and legislators to use their utmost efforts to stop the carnage.

At issue is last month's Crown Attorney's decision to drop Ontario's first C-45 charges against Sault Ste. Marie's Millennium Crane Rental and its owner for the death of worker James Vecchio. OFL President Sid Ryan is demanding answers and renewed commitments from all parties.

"It is a disgraceful failure of the government and the courts that Bill C-45 has never resulted in the successful prosecution of an Ontario employer for a workplace death or injury," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "We need a commitment from every police chief, legislator and Crown Attorney in Ontario that what took place in Sault Ste. Marie will not happen again."

The OFL warns that C-45 criminal charges laid against Metron Construction, its owner Joel Swartz and others associated with the 2009 Christmas Eve deaths of four migrant workers in Toronto must not be dropped or impeded.

"The OFL's 'Kill a Worker, Go to Jail' campaign will not stop until bosses and CEOs learn that if they endanger the lives of workers, they will face serious jail sentences," said Ryan.

Like Westray Bill C-45, Ontario's Bill 160 that proposes changes to Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act, could be of enormous help in reducing death and injury in the workplace. "We must see both the spirit and content of Expert Panel recommendations reflected in the government's amendments. It is crucial to get it right. The life and health of every single person who goes to work in Ontario depend on both of these vital pieces of legislation."

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