14 October, 2019
Toronto – On October 4, 2019, IAM activists joined labour and migrant rights activists from across the Greater Toronto Area to protest unsafe working conditions at Fiera Foods, an industrial bakery in Toronto, and demand that the company protect workers’ health and safety – and their very lives!
The protest follows another needless death at Fiera Foods: 57-year-old Enrico Miranda, a cleaner at the bakery. Miranda was the fifth temporary employment agency worker to die at Fiera Foods or one of its affiliated plants.
It is noteworthy that Fiera did not stop production on the line when the worker was killed. They continued production. They did close down production on both shifts for the day of the rally.
“The IAM is calling on Fiera foods to pay the workers for their missed wages for the day of the rally, said Stan Pickthall, Canadian General Vice-President of the IAM. “We are especially calling on the provincial Conservative government to improve legislation around temporary foreign workers,” he said.
The Ontario Federation of Labour sent condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the worker who was killed at the factory operated by Fiera Foods in Toronto’s west end.
“This employer has repeatedly demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety of those that work there, leaving yet another family grieving the loss of their loved one,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “It is time for the Ministry of Labour and the police to bring the full weight of the law to bear on this employer. They must be accountable for the deaths that have taken place at their facilities.”
The OFL has written to the police service on three previous occasions when workers have been killed on the job at Fiera Foods and received a response that they do in fact investigate workplace fatalities with the potential of criminal negligence by the employer in mind. No criminal charges have been laid.
“Every worker should come home safely at the end of every workday,” said Buckley. “This death underscores the importance of putting a sufficient number of workplace inspectors in place to ensure that employers like Fiera Foods guarantee the safety of their workers.”
The OFL, when made aware of any workplace fatality, writes to the police service in that jurisdiction requesting that they do a criminal negligence investigation of the employer into that worker’s death.
In 2004 the Canadian Criminal Code was amended by Bill C-45 and now provides special criminal negligence provisions for companies that disregard the health and safety of workers. The intent of the legislation is to hold employers criminally liable for the deaths of workers.
Every worker who is killed at work deserves to have their death investigated through the lens of C-45. Their families deserve to know the police have done more than rule out foul play, that they have looked at criminal negligence by the employer as a possible cause.
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