BURNABY, BC, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) is
launching a national campaign to lobby provincial and federal
governments for greater enforcement of the Westray Act, nine years
after the union successfully lobbied for passage of the historic
legislation in 2004.
The Westray legislation was passed unanimously in the House of Commons
in response to the Westray coal mine explosion in Nova Scotia that
killed 26 miners on May 9, 1992.
"After the horror of Westray, politicians of all stripes were eager to
support the Westray Bill and promise that no more Canadian workers
would needlessly lose their lives due to corporate negligence. They've
failed to live up to their promises." says Stephen Hunt, the USW's
western Canadian Director.
The Westray legislation was intended to hold corporate executives,
directors and managers criminally responsible for workplace deaths.
Since the law was enacted in 2004, approximately 9,000 Canadians have
been killed on the job, yet not one corporate executive, director or
manager has faced a single day in jail.
Delegates to the USW District 3 Health and Safety Conference in
Vancouver this week have heard from family members of workers who were
killed at work. They are calling for coordination between government
agencies and police to ensure workplace deaths are investigated
properly and that employers are held accountable.
As part of the national campaign, the USW has created a website - www.stopthekilling.ca - to raise awareness of the need for governments to enforce the Westray
USW National Director Ken Neumann says it's time for elected officials
to act to protect worker safety.
"When a law isn't being enforced, it's incumbent on elected officials at
every level of government to fix it," Neumann says. "While politicians
talk, 1,000 Canadians continue to be killed at work each year. It's
time for real action to protect the safety of every worker in every
Key changes being sought by the USW campaign include:
Education, training and direction for Crown attorneys to apply the
Assigning dedicated prosecutors the specific responsibility of handling
workplace health and safety fatalities;
Education, training and direction for police services to apply the
Greater coordination among health and safety regulators, police and
Crown attorneys so that regulators are trained to reach out to police
when there is a possibility that criminal charges under the Westray
legislation are warranted.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Stephen Hunt, USW District 3 Director, 604-816-2554
Brad West, USW Communications, 604-754-1174