Metron construction, the company from whose swing-stage four construction workers fell 13 storeys to their deaths in Toronto on Christmas Eve, 2009, when the structure broke in half, has been fined $200,000 as a lengthy trial wrapped up at Old City Hall on July 13.
The company was convicted of criminal negligence causing death, although the owner of the firm, Joel Swartz, had seen his personal charges of criminal negligence dropped earlier in the proceedings. Instead, he pled guilt to contravening the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was fined $90,000.
The judgment against Metron marked the first time that a construction company has been convicted of criminal negligence causing death under the Ontario Criminal Code.
Metron and the owner will also be required to pay a “victim surcharge” of $52,500.
Justice Robert Bigelow, who presided over the trial, said the fines were intended to send a message that workplace safety violations were a serious issue.
But Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan said the ruling was “disgraceful.”
“It says that a worker’s life is worth no more than $50,000,” Ryan said. “Many bad bosses across the province will simply chalk it up as the cost of doing business.”