Stop the Killing and Enforce the Law, Steelworkers Tell Justice Ministers

WHITEHORSE, YK, Nov. 14, 2013 /CNW/ - Ken Neumann, Canadian National Director of the United Steelworkers (USW), 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. 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 province and territory," said Neumann.

USW representatives have been in Whitehorse this week asking a gathering of provincial and territorial justice ministers to improve enforcement of the 2004 Westray amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada. The Westray amendments allow for employers to be held criminally accountable where negligence results in a worker's death.

"We are determined to assist provincial and territorial justice ministers and attorneys-general to take up the cause and enforce a law we fought hard to win," said USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt. "The stories of incompetence, neglect and cynicism that lead to preventable death continue unabated and unchallenged. That has to change."

The USW is calling on justice ministers and attorneys-general to ensure that:

*Crown attorneys are educated, trained and directed to apply the Westray amendments;

*Dedicated prosecutors are given the responsibility for health and safety fatalities;

*Police are educated, trained and directed to apply the Westray amendments;

*There is greater coordination among regulators, police and Crown attorneys so that health and safety regulators are trained to reach out to police when there is a possibility that Westray amendment charges are warranted.

The union has launched a website for its campaign at www.stopthekilling.ca

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Stephen Hunt, USW District 3 Director, 604-816-2554
Brad West, USW Communications, 604-754-1174, bwest@usw.ca


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