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September 25, 2019

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is outraged after a fifth fatality at the Fiera Foods Group of Companies on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.

The OFL sends condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the worker who was killed at the factory operated by Fiera Foods in Toronto’s west end.

“This employer has repeatedly demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety of those that work there, leaving yet another family grieving the loss of their loved one,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “It is time for the Ministry of Labour and the police to bring the full weight of the law to bear on this employer. They must be accountable for the deaths that have taken place at their facilities.” 

The OFL has written to the police service on three previous occasions when workers have been killed on the job at Fiera Foods and received a response that they do in fact investigate workplace fatalities with the potential of criminal negligence by the employer in mind. No criminal charges have been laid.

“Every worker should come home safely at the end of every workday,” said Buckley. “This death underscores the importance of putting a sufficient number of workplace inspectors in place to ensure that employers like Fiera Foods guarantee the safety of their workers.”

In October of 1999 Ivan Golyashov, 16, was killed in an unguarded dough maker at Fiera Foods. He too was a temp agency worker. The company was charged by the Ministry of Labour (MOL) and received a $150,000 fine.

Two years later, in December of 2011, just after midnight, another temp agency worker was killed on the grounds of the plant by a transport truck as it was backing up. A lack of barriers and lighting were blamed for that death and Marmora Freezing Corporation (Fiera Foods) was fined $150,000.

On September 2, 2016, Amina Diaby, 23, was killed when a conveyor belt caught a piece of her clothing and she became entangled in an unguarded machine. She had been sent to work at the Fiera plant by a temp agency and had been on the job less than three weeks when she was killed. The company was charged by the Ministry of Labour, plead guilty, and was fined $300,000 for her death.

On October 25, 2018, a fourth worker was killed when he was pinned between a tractor trailer and the loading dock at Upper Crust, one of a group of companies owned by Fiera Foods in Toronto’s west end.

The OFL, when made aware of any workplace fatality, writes to the police service in that jurisdiction requesting that they do a criminal negligence investigation of the employer into that worker’s death. 

In 2004 the Canadian Criminal Code was amended by Bill C-45 and now provides special criminal negligence provisions for companies that disregard the health and safety of workers. The intent of the legislation is to hold employers criminally liable for the deaths of workers.

Every worker who is killed at work deserves to have their death investigated through the lens of C-45. Their families deserve to know the police have done more than rule out foul play, that they have looked at criminal negligence by the employer as a possible cause.

COPE 343


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