In what is still a relatively rare occurrence, an Ontario
supervisor has been sent to jail for violating the Occupational
Health and Safety Act after a worker died. Lying to the police
and Ministry of Labour inspector did not help.
Paul Markewycz was the owner and operator of a company called
Roofing Medics Ltd. In 2011, a worker who was installing roofing
membrane from a ladder fell approximately 6 metres and struck a
fence. The worker was wearing fall protection equipment but it was
not connected to anything when he fell. The worker was pronounced
dead shortly afterwards.
Markewycz told the police that the worker fell at the Markewycz
home while helping to install roof vents. A coroner told a Ministry
of Labour inspector about the incident. The inspector attended at
the Markewycz home for an investigation. A week after the accident,
Markewycz and his lawyer met with Ministry of Labour inspectors and
said that the incident had taken place in Toronto and not at his
home. He also told the inspectors that worker had been employed
with Roofing Medics, which had not reported the accident to the
Ministry of Labour as required by the Occupational Health and
Markewicz was charged with and pleaded guilty to failing as a
supervisor to ensure that a worker works with the required
protective devices, and to knowingly giving false information to an
inspector. He was jailed for 15 days. Roofing Medics was fined
$50,000.00 for two violations including failing to notify an
inspector of the accident immediately and in writing within 48
This case illustrates how the Ministry of Labour will seek
severe penalties against those who lie to inspectors. Honesty is,
as our parents told us, the best policy.
The Ministry of Labour press release may be accessed here.
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