Every now and then a case comes along to remind us that
violators of occupational health and safety legislation can be
sent to jail.
Mind you, this case involved not only serious safety violations,
but also deceit and illegal dumping.
An Ontario contractor has been jailed for 30 days and fined
$45,000, after a successful prosecution by the Ontario Ministry of
Labour, for violating the asbestos regulation under the Ontario
Occupational Health and Safety Act.
According to the Ministry of Labour court bulletin, on two
separate dates in 2014, the contractor, along with at least one of
his workers, went to a residential home to remove
asbestos-containing insulation from the attic.
The contractor did not separate and seal off the work area; did
not have any decontamination facilities in place; did not identify
the work area with any signs warning of an asbestos dust hazard;
did not wear protective clothing; and he and his worker wore
respirators that were not fit-tested and on which they were not
trained. Further, the contractor did not notify the Ministry of
Labour of the asbestos removal work as required by the asbestos
regulation. The contractor had told the homeowner that the removal
work was being done in accordance with the asbestos regulation, and
that the contractor was certified to do the work, but neither was
true. The homeowner and two other people were in the home while the
work was being done.
The Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Environment and police got
involved when someone reported that vacuum bags with
asbestos-containing insulation had been illegally dumped on private
After a trial, the contractor was found guilty on nine
charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act
and Regulation 278/05 ("Designated Substance – Asbestos
on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair
Operations") under the OHSA. The court stated that this
was a case of clear deceit and misrepresentation by the contractor
and total disregard for the health and safety of workers and the
The court then imposed the thirty-day jail sentence and $45,000
The Ministry of Labour's court bulletin may be accessed
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