The Toronto Star is reporting that Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General has appealed a judge’s decision that imposed a $200,000 fine against Metron Construction in the 2009 scaffold collapse in which four workers died.
The fine was levied under the “Bill C-45” amendments to the Criminal Code in 2004. The prosecutor had sought a $1 million fine against Metron.
The prosecutors are seeking a much higher fine against the company, calling the $200,000.00 fine “manifestly unfit”.
In handing down the fine, the sentencing judge considered a number of factors includings Metron’s “prior good character”, the fact that Metron was neither large nor profitable, and that the fine against Metron and an additional $112,500 fine (including the Victim Fine Surcharge) against the company owner for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act represented three times the net earnings of Metron in its last profitable year.
Union groups, including the Ontario Federation of Labour, had been sharply critical of the court’s decision, calling the fine far too low.
The OFL notes, on its web site, that the OFL’s president “had harsh criticisms for a judicial system that continues to let criminally negligent employers walk free after they put the lives of workers at risk.”
Our recent summary of the Metron/Swartz sentencing decisions can be found here.
The court’s sentencing decisions can be found here:
R. v. Metron Construction Corporation, 2012 ONCJ 506 (CanLII)
R. v. Swartz, 2012 ONCJ 505 (CanLII)