A Woodbridge, Ontario company that specializes in garbage removal and hauling, J.R. Contracting Property Services Ltd was hit with a $75,000 fine, and one company supervisor was sentenced to 45 days in jail. In addition, a company representative was fined $2,000 for attempting to obstruct the Ministry of Labour investigation.
The incident in question occurred on October 15, 2008, when workers were sent to a Toronto address to remove shingles from a single-storey residence. One worker, who was later identified as an employee of J.R. Contracting, was standing on the roof, tossing loose shingles toward a large bin. At one point, the worker stepped back and slipped, rolling off the roof and landing on a walkway below. As a result of the injury, the worker suffered permanent paralysis of the lower body.
During the Ministry of Labour investigation following the incident, the injured worker denied ever having received training in the use of fall protection equipment, and that no such equipment was provided. The worker also indicated that work was provided on an on-call basis, and that payment for work was cash.
According to the court, the worker qualified as an employee under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), that J.R. Contracting Property Services was the employer, and that Teisha (Tina) Lootawan was the supervisor. Because of this, Lootawan was found guilty of failure as a supervisor of taking the reasonable precaution of ensuring that an adequate form of fall protection was provided where a worker is exposed to a fall hazard of more than three metres.
At one point during the investigation, when Ministry of Labour investigators asked for documentation that included employment and telephone records, company representative Andrew Joshua Haniff refused to answer any of the inspector’s questions. For that, he was convicted of obstructing an inspector and fined $2,000.
The fines and the jail sentence were imposed by Justice of the Peace Mary A. Ross Hendriks after seven days of testimony over 2011 and 2012, the verdict was reached on April 18, 2013, with sentencing passed March 6, 2014. The fines were augmented by a 25 percent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.