Courts Must Get Tough on Companies that Kill Workers

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Every year in Canada, more than 1,000 people go to work and don’t make it home alive.

We want to make sure that every worker makes it home safe at the end of the day.
That will only happen if governments and courts are willing to hold companies liable for workplace fatalities to account.

Companies must be held accountable for workplace injuries resulting in death beyond a one-time fine.

Todd Maytwayashing was killed on the job at the age of 22 on January 17, 2018 while working in a Manitoba Hydro yard for a private contractor, Forbes Bros.

Maytwayashing was working when he saw there was a problem with the way steel was loaded on another worker’s truck. He went over to help fix the problem when a bundle of steel weighing 500-600 lbs came loose and struck him on the head, killing him.

The company responsible had seven charges laid against them, but the defense lawyer and Crown Attorney settled on a plea bargain. Even though the same company was found responsible for two deaths only six months prior, the company was only fined 150,000 and is able to continue doing business as usual.

Though the incident happened in a yard owned by Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Hydro was not charged at all.

Based on worker’s compensation claims, 1,000 Canadians die each year at work.
Manitoba must take workplace deaths more seriously by enforcing the Federal Westray Act. The Westray Act amended the Criminal Code so corporations and company directions could be held criminally responsible for worker deaths and injuries.

Courts should not have a double standard when it comes to holding people responsible for a death that shouldn’t have happened. A person will face criminal charges and jail time, but corporations usually only face a fine.

We urge the Manitoba Government And Attorney General to enforce the law. We urge the Manitoba Government and Attorney General to use the Westray Law to prosecute corporations and hold boards of directors to account.