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Criminal Charges Show Steelworkers Campaign to Enforce the Law is Starting to Work

December 10, 2015 | Media Releases

TORONTO – Criminal charges laid against a Sarnia company more than a year after the death of one worker and serious injury to five others is proof that a campaign to enforce a law passed more than a decade ago is resulting in the appropriate response by law enforcement and the courts, says Marty Warren, Ontario/Atlantic Director of the United Steelworkers (USW).

“Our campaign to Stop the Killing and Enforce the Law has been gaining support over the last year,” said Warren. “We are tired of seeing workers killed at a rate of 1,000 a year across Canada, while corporations and their leadership are not held accountable.”

Warren said the USW’s concerns are for all workers, unionized or not, and that support has been growing in municipalities, including Sarnia, which have passed resolutions calling for better enforcement and prosecution under 2003-04 amendments to the Criminal Code. Few charges, and fewer convictions, have occurred over the last 12 years since the amendments, known as the Westray Bill, were passed. 

“Steelworker members were front and centre, lobbying for those changes a decade ago, he said. “Our hope was that the Westray law would serve as a deterrent to employers who view the fines for workplace death under occupational health and safety legislation as a mere cost of doing business.

“Our hope now is that the family of Jason Miller, who was killed when a dust collection system exploded, will receive the justice they deserve, along with the five other workers injured when the explosion caused part of the roof to collapse at Veolia Environmental Services on October 25, 2014.

“Our campaign will continue until the killing stops and the law is fully enforced and prosecuted.”

More information on the USW Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law campaign can be found at:

Sylvia Boyce, USW Health & Safety Coordinator, District 6, 905-741-9830,
Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792,

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