A commercial bakery in Toronto where a 23-year-old employee died just over a year ago was fined $300,000 Thursday for violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Ontario labour ministry issues 6 orders against Toronto food company after young worker dies
Justice of the Peace Rhonda Roffey handed down the sentence in the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto.
The fine comes after Fiera Foods Company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker near a source of entanglement had secured all loose clothing, as required by section 83(2) of the provincial Industrial Regulation. This violated section 25 (1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, according to a provincial government press release.
The incident occurred back on Sept. 2, 2016 at the Fiera Foods plant at 50 Marmora Street in Toronto. A 23-year-old female employee who had been sent to the facility by a temp agency and had only been on the job for three weeks was wearing a hijab that was loose at the ends.
The hijab became tangled under a guard covering the chain drive of a conveyer belt. An emergency stop button was not within reach, the news release said.
At the time, police said they arrived at the facility around 5 p.m. to find the worker without vital signs. She was pronounced dead in hospital.
A few days later, the province’s labour ministry issued six orders against the company, including a one stop-work order to provide an emergency stop control on the machine; a requirement for an engineering assessment of the conveyer line where the accident occurred; and a time-based order to provide safe access and egress to and from the work area where the accident occurred.
In Thursday’s sentencing, Roffey also imposed a 25-per-cent victim surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special government fund to assist victims of crime, the news release said.
If they didn’t allow the hijabi to work on the line they would have been sued and wrongly called Islamophobic. Now, rather than banning the hijab and other head coverings near this type of machinery, the government will further burden employers and fine them.
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