Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

June 29, 2015 06:00 ET

OFL Celebrates Conviction of Metron Construction Manager and Puts Ontario Bosses on Notice: If You Kill a Worker, You Will Go to Jail

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 29, 2015) - The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) President Sid Ryan applauded Friday's criminal conviction of a Metron Construction manager for criminal negligence causing the 2009 deaths of four workers and the serious injury of a fifth. It is a ruling the OFL says should send a strong message to every employer in the province.

"The conviction of this Metron Project Manager is historic. Since this tragic accident took place in 2009, the Ontario Federation of Labour has been campaigning to put negligent bosses behind bars and today we are one step closer to that goal," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "Today, I am putting every Ontario employer on notice: the OFL will vigorously pursue each and every workplace fatality caused by employer negligence until the bosses, managers and front line supervisors responsible get slapped with harsh prison sentences."

The OFL launched its "Kill a Worker, Go to Jail" campaign immediately following the December 24, 2009 collapse of a swing stage at a west Toronto high-rise that resulted in five workers plunging 13 stories during construction repair. The campaign paid off in 2012 when Metron Construction received Ontario's first criminal conviction since the Criminal Code of Canada was amended in response to the 1992 Westray Mine Disaster. While the company was fined $750,000 plus a victim surcharge, the company's sole owner and director, Joel Swartz, escaped criminal conviction altogether. Today an Ontario Superior Court Judge found the Metron Project Manager, Vadim Kazenelson, guilty on five counts of criminal negligence and sentencing is expected in October.

"We are counting on this court to sentence Mr. Kazenelson with a significant jail term that sends a message to every employer in the province," said Ryan. "No financial penalty or monetary damages can bring sufficient justice to those who have lost their lives, their livelihoods or their loved ones because of negligent employers."

"The OFL won't stop campaigning for justice until bad bosses learn that they can't buy their way out of criminal responsibility. When they put profits ahead of workplace health and safety, they will be escorted out of their offices in leg-irons."

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour.

Contact Information

  • Sid Ryan
    OFL President

    Joel Duff
    OFL Communications Director