Roofing Medics Ltd. was fined $50,000 and its supervisor Paul Markewycs jailed for 15 days after a worker was killed in a fall from a residence in Toronto.
The roofing installation company — based in Brampton — was found to be in violation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker installing waterproofing materials from a ladder lost his balance and fell. The worker fell about six metres and struck a fence. The employee was taken to hospital and pronounced dead an hour later.
“I hope this jail sentence sends a chill down the spine of every boss who puts profit ahead of workplace safety,” said Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) president Sid Ryan. “Every year 80 Ontario workers are killed in workplace tragedies and nearly 250,000 more are maimed or injured. The only way to stop this carnage in the workplace is to march negligent employers from their boardroom to a jail cell.”
The worker was wearing fall protection equipment but was not affixed to anything at the time of the fall. A Ministry of Labour inspector was advised of the incident and attended the home to conduct an investigation.
It was found Roofing Medics failed to notify an inspector of the fatality immediately and failed to send a written report of the circumstances surrounding the incident to a director of the ministry within 48 hours of the occurrence, as it is required by law.
It was also found Markewycz provided false information, telling police the worker fell while installing roof vents at his home in Brampton. Markewycz later revealed to inspectors the employee was in fact installing waterproofing materials at a Roofing Medics project in Toronto.
The company pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure safety measures were carried out as required by law and to failing to notify an inspector immediately of the occurrence. Markewycz pleaded guilty to failing as a supervisor to ensure a worker used protective devices as required by law and to knowingly furnishing an inspector with false information.
In addition to the $50,000 fine the court imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge credited to a special provincial government fund used to assist victims of crime.
The OFL was pleased with the decision, Ryan said.
“When employer negligence leads to a worker’s death, it is not an accident, it’s a crime… and those responsible must be sentenced to the full extent of the law.”
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