In the past we have reported on the Metron matter where, on
December 24, 2009, six workers entered a faulty swing stage to
repair balconies on the 13th floor of an apartment building in
Toronto. Only one worker was wearing fall protection.
The swing stage split into two pieces and four workers fell to
their deaths one worker survived the fall but had devastating
injuries. The one worker that had fall protection was safely
In this matter, charges were laid under the Criminal Code.
On Friday June 26, 2015 Vadim Kazenelson, who was the project
manager on December 24, 2009, was found guilty of four counts of
criminal negligence causing death, and one count of criminal
negligence causing bodily harm. In this case, the Judge
stated that Kazenelson was aware that fall protections were not in
place but let the workers board the swing stage anyway. The
Judge found that Kazenelson "showed wanton and reckless
disregard" for the workers. On Monday January 11, 2016,
Justice Ian MacDonnell sentenced Kazenelson to 3.5 years of prison
for his role in the four workplace deaths and negligence causing
The Company Metron Construction pleaded guilty to criminal
negligence and was fined $750,000 plus the 25% victim fine
surcharge (vfs). The Director of Metron Construction was
fined $90,000 plus the 25% vfs. The supplier of the swing
stage – Swing N Scaff Inc. was charged and convicted of
failing to ensure the swing stage was in good working condition and
received a fine of $350,000.00.
Kazenelson has appealed the sentence and we will continue to
report on the outcome of the case as it progresses to appeal.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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