Media Advisory - Steelworkers Call on Minister MacKay to Stand Up for Worker Safety

Supporters of the national campaign Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law ask Peter MacKay to recommit to the spirit of a law he passionately endorsed a decade ago.

PICTOU COUNTY, N.S., March 10, 2014 /CNW/ - After meeting with Pictou County Council on Monday, representatives of the United Steelworkers (USW) and members of the Westray Families' Group will pay a special visit Tuesday to the office of Central Nova MP and Canada's Justice Minister, Hon. Peter MacKay, to seek his recommitment to the spirit of a law he so passionately endorsed a decade ago.

WHO:  United Steelworkers and Westray Families
WHAT:  Gathering at Hon. Peter MacKay's office
WHERE: 980 East River Road, New Glasgow
WHEN:  10 a.m., Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Known as the Westray Law, amendments to the Criminal Code were passed unanimously in the House of Commons in 2003, with the support and leadership of then-opposition MP MacKay. The Westray amendments hold corporations, their directors and executives criminally accountable for workplace deaths. The move was seen as a victory for workers. It was also a rare unified response to the horrific Westray coalmine explosion in Nova Scotia that killed 26 miners on May 9, 1992.

However, in the decade since, more than 9,000 Canadians have been killed on the job, yet not one corporate executive has faced a single day in jail.

The USW has launched a national campaign asking provincial attorneys-general to take steps to enforce the Westray Law. Supporters want to know where Mr. MacKay stands as Canada's chief lawmaker.

"I have personally been in touch with both his Ottawa office and his office here in Pictou County," said USW National Director Ken Neumann. "We understand that he is a busy cabinet minister, but his voice now is important to workers, and the thousands of Canadian families who have not received the kind of justice that the Westray amendments promised. It would mean so much."

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-558-2510
Stephen Hunt, USW District 3 Director, 604-816-2554
Sylvia Boyce, USW Health, Safety and Environment Coordinator, 905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca