On December 24th, we remember victims of Christmas Eve scaffold tragedy

December 24th, We Remember

Toronto – December 17, 2015 – December 24th marks the sixth anniversary of the Christmas Eve scaffold tragedy, in which four migrant workers were killed and another seriously injured after the scaffold that was supporting them collapsed at a Toronto worksite.

To commemorate the victims of this horrible tragedy, UFCW Canada has published a We Remember poster that can be downloaded here.

The Ottawa-based Swing ’N Scaff, the company that supplied the swing stage involved in the deadly scaffolding collapse, was fined last December for failing to ensure that the platform was in good condition, and Swing ’N Scaff director Patrick Deschamps pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the platform was in good condition and was designed by a professional engineer.

Most recently, the project manager involved in the collapse, Vadim Kazenelson, was convicted on four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. However, all of the owners and managers whose negligence contributed to the tragedy have yet to receive jail time for their role in the scaffold collapse.

"The full power of the law must be used to jail owners when workers are killed by a company's negligence. As we have been saying for six years now, that should have happened here," says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada. "We must continue to honour and remember the victims of this disaster by fighting for improved workplace health and safety protections and by pressuring governments and employers to inform all workers of their right to refuse unsafe work."

Immediately after the workplace tragedy, UFCW Canada joined other social justice and labour organizations in calling for jail time for the owner of Metron Construction, who only received fines for his role in the scaffold collapse.

"Employers must be made to see that if you kill a worker, you go to jail," the National President of Canada's leading union adds. "Until then, workers will continue to be the victims of reckless corporations like Metron and Swing ’N Scaff."