The decision in this case is an important reminder about an owner’s worksite safety obligations. Owners must ensure the health and safety of their own employees, as well as the employees of other contractors on site.
Last January, I wrote about fatalities at work, and in particular, the Metron Construction and Swartz decisions. Since then, there has been some developments.
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.