TORONTO, July 4, 2018 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers' (USW) Ontario/Atlantic Director Marty Warren says the union has not changed its demand for the Province of Ontario to do more to enforce the Westray amendments to the Criminal Code to hold companies and their directors accountable for workplace death and injury.
"The Ontario Premier and his Attorney-General and Labour Minister must initiate protocols and training to prosecutors and law enforcement to ensure enforcement of the Westray Law. That may require funding and resources but it must be done to ensure safe and healthy workplaces in Ontario," Warren said.
"For far too long, companies have been able to get away with fines and an absolute minimum of accountability when they kill or maim workers," he said. "It is 2018 in Ontario. If this new government is really 'for the people,' it must take this step and save lives in Ontario workplaces."
The USW campaign, Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law, calls for key measures to enforce the law that was passed unanimously in the House of Commons in 2003, including:
- Educate, train and direct Crown attorneys to apply the Westray amendments to the Criminal Code;
- Appoint dedicated prosecutors with the responsibility for workplace fatalities;
- Educate, train and direct police to apply the Westray amendments in investigations and charges against employers;
- Establish greater co-ordination 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 law has not been properly enforced over the last 14 years, while 1,000 workers a year are killed in workplaces across Canada, with only a handful of criminal convictions against those responsible," said Warren.
"It is far too late for excuses. We are calling on the Ontario government to step up and enforce the law – for the people."
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792, [email protected]; Sylvia Boyce, USW District 6 Health and Safety Co-ordinator, 905-741-9830, [email protected]; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, [email protected]