The Ontario Ministry of Labour
("MOL") started the new year off by obtaining convictions
in three high-profile workplace fatality prosecutions.
In late 2012 at Parmalat Canada Inc., a
worker was run over and crushed to death by a reversing tractor
trailer. After pleading guilty, the company was convicted on Jan.
14, 2015 and sentenced to a fine of $ 290,000 plus 25% victim fine
surcharge for failing to ensure that a vehicle operator had an
In May 2013, a worker at Future
Mobility Inc. was crushed when a load shifted from a forklift. The
employer was convicted on Jan. 15, 2015 of failing to ensure the
safe movement of material and fined $150,000 plus 25% victim fine
On the same day, New Mex Canada Inc.
was convicted in a fatality case and fined $ 250,000 plus 25%
victim fine surcharge. That case has other implications which are
discussed in this article.
All three convictions were the result
of guilty pleas. In Ontario, where a corporate accused or
individual pleads guilty, it will usually be as part of a plea
agreement with the Crown. Plea agreements have three standard
features: (1) the withdrawal of most counts against the accused,
save for those which the accused agrees to plead to, (2) agreed
facts and (3) an agreed fine recommendation to the Court, at a cost
below that which the Crown would anticipate if conviction had
These cases are consistent with recent
years' experience that the MOL seeks, and obtains, sentences in
excess of a quarter million dollars – even against medium or
modest sized companies – in cases of fatality following
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