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Metron Manager to Face Criminal Trial for Toronto High-Rise Fatalities

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/10/13 -- The Ontario Federation of Labour welcomed today's Ontario Court decision that Metron Construction Project Manager Vadim Kazenelson will face a criminal trial for the deaths of four workers and the serious injury of another in 2009.

"We are delighted that the judge found sufficient evidence to send this case to criminal trial. Four workers are dead due to workplace negligence and, so far, not a single employer has gone to jail," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "Mr. Kazenelson had direct responsibility over these workers and he should be held to account for Metron's shameful failure to follow safety protocols."

The OFL launched its "Kill a Worker, Go to Jail" campaign immediately following the December 24, 2009 collapse of a swing stage at a west Toronto high-rise that resulted in five workers plunging 13 stories during construction repair. Last summer, Metron Construction was convicted of Criminal Negligence causing the fatal accident and received only a $200,000 fine, while the company's sole owner and director, Joel Swartz, escaped criminal conviction altogether. This fine, which amounts to a meager $50,000 for each worker's life, is currently being appealed by the Crown on the grounds that it is a "manifestly unfit" sentence, given the gravity of the tragedy. With criminal proceedings now established against the Metron Project Manager, the workers and their families have a second chance at justice.

"Bosses cannot be allowed to simply buy their way out of responsibility for criminal negligence when the lives of workers and their families have been destroyed," said Ryan. "Over 400 Ontario workers die every year while on the job because employers continue to put cost cutting ahead of worker safety. This workplace carnage won't stop unless negligent employers find themselves behind bars. We are going to continue to campaign for justice."

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour and follow OFL President Sid Ryan at @SidRyan_OFL.

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