Bill C-45 lives: Worker death sparks criminal negligence charges
Written by Cheryl A. Edwards, Shane D. Todd and Jeremy Warning
Friday, 05 March 2010 13:20
In what should serve as a stark reminder for both employers and individuals, police in Ontario
recently charged a corporate employer and two individuals with
causing death after a fatal workplace accident at a construction project.
On April 16, 2009, the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Public Works Department was performing
sewer work in an approximately three-metre-deep excavation at the city landfill. The city had
contracted with 1531147 Ontario Limited, operating as Millennium Crane Rentals, to provide an
80-ton mobile crane and crane operator to assist in placing concrete structures into the
While all the facts are not publicly known, it appears that the crane fell into the excavation
while it was being repositioned. Two city employees were working in the excavation at the time.
One employee was pinned across the stomach and pelvis by the crane. He was extricated by
the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Service and rushed to a nearby hospital where he later succumbed to
his injuries. The second employee was not hurt.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour and the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service investigated the
accident. The ministry has now laid five charges under the Ontario Occupational Health and
Safety Act (OHSA), against Millennium Crane, including charges for failing to ensure the crane
operator was properly licensed, failing to ensure the crane was maintained in a condition that
did not endanger a worker, and failing to ensure that the crane was not defective and/or
hazardous. An OHSA charge was also laid against the crane operator for allegedly operating
the crane in a manner that endangered himself and other workers.
The maximum fine that could be imposed for each of the OHSA charges laid against
Millennium Crane is $500,000, plus the required provincial surcharge. The maximum penalty
that could be impo