September 15, 2017
(Toronto) – On September 2, 2016, 23-year old Amina Diaby, a temp agency worker who had been on the job just two weeks, was killed at the Fiera Foods plant in Toronto.
The OFL’s Kill a Worker, Go to Jail campaign confirmed that this was the third worker death at that location. The OFL calls on the government to do more to prevent the injuries and deaths of temp agency workers and of all workers.
“It is clear to me that this employer has demonstrated a deep disregard for the safety of those that work in their facility,” said Chris Buckley President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. “Media reports have exposed to the public that this employer has little regard for the laws of Ontario.”
In August, the Ministry of Labour charged Fiera Foods and a supervisor for lack of guarding and for failing to ensure loose clothing was not worn near a “source of entanglement.”
In a plea bargain, the company pleaded guilty on the loose clothing charge and in return, the charge of improper guarding was dropped as were charges against the supervisor. Two unrelated charges involving critical injuries were also dropped. Fiera foods was fined $300,000.
Following Diaby’s death, the OFL sent the police a package of information to aid with a criminal negligence investigation. The police responded assuring the OFL that the information had been provided to the investigating officers. Toronto Police confirm that a police investigation is ongoing.
This tragedy underscores the vulnerability of temporary workers when employers treat them as a disposable commodity, often relegating them to the most precarious and dangerous work.
“The $300,000 fine is a paltry amount considering the record of this employer,” said Buckley. “If the Ministry of Labour is not prepared to hold this company and their senior executives fully accountable, we hope the police have enough evidence to lay criminal charges. This blatant disregard for the health and safety of workers will not be tolerated.”
Employers like Fiera Foods must do better by these workers by ensuring health and safety, regard for the law, and decent work are the top priority throughout the entire supply chain.
The OFL launched its “Kill a Worker, Go to Jail” campaign immediately following the Metron tragedy in 2009 to demand jail time for bosses whose criminal negligence results in a worker’s death. The campaign paid off in 2012 when Metron Construction received Ontario’s first criminal conviction since the Criminal Code of Canada was amended in response to the 1992 Westray Mine Disaster.
For further information:
Meagan Perry, Director of Communications, Ontario Federation of Labour
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