In sentencing an employer to a $115,000.00 fine in the case of a
tragic workplace death, an Ontario Justice of the Peace has
discussed the range of fines against employers convicted of charges
under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in regards to
a workplace death.
The court stated:
"Reviewing the cases, where there is death, there is a
general (and very large) range of sentence from $70,000.00 to
$175,000.00, with extreme lows of under $50,000.00 and highs of
over $200,000.00. The majority of the cases appear to be within a
range of $100,000.00 to 150,000.00. It is my opinion
that the appropriate sentence in this matter falls within this
range. It is within that range that I can take into account the
financial and other factors which I have referred to above. I
also consider the impact of the victim fine surcharge which
ultimately increases by 25 per cent any fine that I
In setting the fine in the case at hand, the court noted that
the defendant sincerely believed that the work procedure (for
loading wood shavings from mills into a truck) was safe, the owner
was sincere in his remorse and had reached out to the family
of the deceased worker, and the employer had had some safety
procedures in place. The employee died when he fell into the
truck after attempting to dislodge wood shavings, and the material
engulfed him and he suffocated.
statistical analysis of fines under the Ontario OHSA showed
that fines vary widely depending on whether the employer agrees
with the Ministry of Labour's proposed fine or lets the court
set the fine.
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