The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Despite demands from the Ontario Federation of Labour, unions and others, the provincial government has no plans to reopen a criminal investigation into the deaths of two Sudbury miners in 2011.
The federation, which represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario, has reacted angrily to $1 million fined levied against Vale in a Sudbury courtroom last for the deaths of Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram on June 8, 2011.
It called on Attorney General John Gerretsen to press the Crown to lay charges and demanded that Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur use her powers under the Police Services Act of Ontario to impose province-wide directives and guidelines requiring criminal investigations of every workplace tragedy to determine whether employer negligence was at fault.
Greater Sudbury Police investigated Fram’s and Chenier’s deaths, but determined no criminal charges were warranted. And in an email statement to The Star, Meilleur gave no indication the provincial government plans to intervene. “This is a tragic incident and my thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased,” she said.
“Any questions about the laying of charges or the launching of investigations should be directed to the local police service. As you can appreciate police are in the best position to determine when to launch an investigation or lay charges.
“These are operational matters for police services and it would be inappropriate for me as the minister to interfere or to be seen as directing the police to take certain actions.”
The OFL, however, said it believes Vale and its managers should be held criminally responsible for the deaths of Chenier and Fram, who were killed when buried by a run of muck — tonnes of broken rock and water.
“Vale has already plead guilty for health and safety violations, so the next step is to hold the company and it’s managers criminally responsible for the fatal result of those shortcuts,” OFL president Sid Ryan said in a release. “For Vale, fines are simply the cost of doing business. The company is totally unrepentant and went to incredible lengths to bury the facts and cover its tracks.
“In Ontario, an average of 80 workers are being killed on the job every year. This carnage in our workplaces will never stop until negligent bosses are marched from their executive suite to a prison cell.”
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