Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

October 13, 2010 12:02 ET

OFL: Christmas Eve Deaths of Four Workers Produce First Ontario Prosecution Under Criminal Code

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 13, 2010) - The OFL and affiliates representing one million Ontario workers are welcoming today's news that Metron Construction Corporation, its owner Joel Swartz and others associated with the company will be prosecuted under the Criminal Code of Canada for criminal negligence in the deaths of four migrant workers. The men fell to their deaths last Christmas Eve when their scaffolding broke in half.

This is the first prosecution in Ontario under the Criminal Code provision known as C-45.

A jubilant Sid Ryan, OFL President says: "Today's charges mean the carnage in Ontario workplaces is finally being brought under control. The stakes have been raised and now employers also have something very real to lose."

Unlike the Health and Safety Act, criminal code sentences do not place any maximum on financial penalties. In addition, individuals found guilty can receive life sentences of up to 20 years.

Since the passage of C-45, more than 400 Ontario workers have been killed at work and more than 1.5 million workers, injured; yet no C-45 prosecutions had taken place in Ontario. "These traumatic deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds more people die each year from occupational disease," notes Ryan.

"This is the signal to employers that we have been waiting for. It says to every CEO and manager that workers' deaths are serious matters with real penalties attached and that they had better take safety seriously."

The OFL's "Kill a worker, go to jail" campaign was the result of public outrage at the deaths of the migrant workers. The campaign sprouted wings as families, unions and community organizations demanded action under the Criminal Code provisions.

"Today we once again pay tribute to Fayzullo Fazilov, 31, of Uzbekistan; Aleksey Blumberg, 33, of Ukraine; Alexander Bondorev, 25, originally from Latvia; and Vladimir Korostin, 40, originally from Uzbekistan, all of whom were tragically killed, as well as Dilshod Marupov, 21, the lone survivor who suffered broken legs and a shattered spine," says Ryan.

The OFL and affiliates will be intensely following every moment of the upcoming prosecution and trial. "We expect to see the full weight of the law brought to bear in this case," says Ryan.

OFL media releases, including Ryan's letters to Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley, and details about the "Kill a worker, go to jail campaign" can be viewed at: www.ofl.ca.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Sid Ryan
    416.209.0066 (cell)
    Ontario Federation of Labour
    Lynn Simmons
    Communications Director
    416.668.7480 (cell)