Toronto – December 22, 2014 – December 24th marks the fifth anniversary of the Christmas Eve scaffold tragedy, when four migrant workers were killed and another seriously injured after the scaffold that was supporting them collapsed at a Toronto worksite.
Immediately after the workplace tragedy, UFCW Canada joined other social justice and labour organizations in calling for jail time for the owner of Metron Construction Ltd., which was given a fine for criminal negligence, while its owner evaded a criminal conviction and jail time – instead, only receiving fines for Occupational Health and Safety Act violations.
The company that supplied the swing stage involved in the deadly scaffolding collapse, Ottawa-based Swing N Scaff Inc., was also fined for failing to ensure that the platform was in good condition – but the owners of the company also evaded jail-time, despite their admitted failure to provide a safe workplace. One of Swing N Scaff's directors, Patrick Deschamps, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the platform was in good condition and designed by a professional engineer, evading jail time and being fined a shameful $50,000.
"Employers must be made to see that if you kill a worker, you go to jail," says National President Paul Meinema. "Until then, workers will continue to be the victims of reckless corporations."
To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Christmas Eve scaffold tragedy, UFCW Canada has created a December 24th – We Remember poster that is freely available in both French and English for posting in workplaces and sharing online.
"The full power of the law must be used to jail owners when workers are killed by a company's negligence. That should have happened here," adds National President Paul Meinema. "We must continue to honour and remember the victims of this disaster by fighting for improved workplace health and safety protections and by pressuring governments and employers to inform all workers of their right to refuse unsafe work."