Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Swing-stage tragedy firm fined $200,000

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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 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.”



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6 Comments » for Swing-stage tragedy firm fined $200,000
  1. Sid ryan is right. The owner deserved Jail time and the workers families deserved much better. There is no clear message here to the employer.
    Hey look at the roofers on Saturday and sunday. Doing roof with no lines and no harness. Where are the inspectors??

  2. Aram Malek says:

    The Occupational Health and Safety Act Should include every worker in Ontario must have 6 months minimum or 1000 hours of Apprenticeship and have someone with them that speak English at the job site.
    I can say this. In my company Canadian Professional Crane Inc. we do not take any one as crane operator that is new to Canada but have crane license, but does not know The Occupational Health and Safety Act because, we want the worker to work safe and know is safety first..
    The worker must not skip the safety rolls. Like Inspect the crane every day, load test the crane, No phone when operating the crane.
    Aram Malek
    We need better training for new worker in Canada. If new worker, 16 of age and new Canadian working in construction must have apprenticeship.
    Justice Robert Bigelow did send a message to all. that safety first.

  3. rocco says:

    who’s pocket does the money go in????

    Will the victims families get any of the so called “fine” money or will wsib go to lunch, maybe beer for the cottage?

    • Robert Koci says:

      The victims of the tragedy and their families don’t get a nickle. it all goes into the WSIB general fund. Unbelievable.

  4. S. Mallette says:

    I think Justice R. Bigelow’s ruling is a joke. the only message I got was a workers life isn’t worth very much and is Joel Swartz going to take care of the families of the four workers who where killed? I think Metron deserved a bigger fine than what they got.

  5. Questo says:

    Its the victim surcharge another fraud Liberal creation?

    Apparently so, this kind of surcharge applies basically in any fines, but the real victims got nothing from this found, who benefits?

    “it all goes into the WSIB general fund. Unbelievable”
    Thanks Robert Koci.

    Is this for real? Hello CBC, where are you?

    Hello everyone, lets make calls to the CBC and press them to blow this matter right open, IMHO.

    Is the WSIB the victims of any work accidents or trauma, suffer, lost of life etc. ? I believe no one wants any family member in case of any work accident to be used as a tool for the government money machine. The corruption seems to be much deeper then what we a knowledge.

    The Liberals sold this dead fish to the people of Ontario, and no body notice, amazing, keep voting for these crooks, until your wallets have no more to grab.

    What about if the real victims lunch a class action lawsuit against the Liberal government for been used as an instrument of found grabs, which does not benefit them at all. That will be interesting!

    Why the Ontario ombudsman not getting involved in this matter?, to let us know where these founds go, how much is there, and who are the beneficiaries.

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