In the 2012 Metron Construction and Swartz decisions concerning the deaths of four workers and serious injury of a fifth worker, the Ontario Court of Justice imposed substantial fines but no jail time for the company's president under either provincial or federal legislation. More recently, however, in R. v. Roofing Medics Ltd., which involved the fatality of one worker, the court did impose jail time on the owner of the company. Employers should take note. It's not yet clear if the Roofing Medics case will influence future decisions, but the Ontario Court of Justice has at least shown that it is willing to impose jail time on employers that do not comply with health and safety legislation.
As you may recall, charges under both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Criminal Code of Canada were laid against the company Metron for the death of four workers at a Toronto construction site when they fell from a scaffold that did not use proper fall arrest systems. A fifth worker was seriously injured. Metron was convicted under the Criminal Code provisions that make it a criminal offence to direct a worker to perform a task without taking reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to a worker. The trial judge fined the company $200,000 plus the Victim Fine Surcharge of 15 percent or $30,000. The Crown appealed and argued that the fine was manifestly unfit...
The cases, R. v. Metron Construction Corporation, and R. v. Swartz, are now posted online and we thought you would be interested in a more in-depth commentary of these two cases.
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