Representatives from the United Steelworkers (USW) union have been in Whitehorse this week asking a gathering of provincial and territorial justice ministers to improve enforcement of the 2004 Westray amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada.
The Westray amendments allow for employers to be held criminally accountable where negligence results in a worker's death.
"When a law isn't being enforced, it's incumbent on elected officials at every level of government to fix it,” said Ken Neumann, USW Canadian national director. “While politicians talk, 1,000 Canadians continue to be killed at work each year. It's time for real action to protect the safety of every worker in every province and territory.”
The USW is calling on justice ministers and attorneys-general to ensure the following:
• Crown attorneys are educated, trained and directed to apply the Westray amendments
• dedicated prosecutors are given the responsibility for health and safety fatalities
• police are educated, trained and directed to apply the Westray amendments
• there is greater co-ordination among regulators, police and Crown attorneys so health and safety regulators are trained to reach out to police when there is a possibility that Westray amendment charges are warranted.
The union has launched a website for its campaign at www.stopthekilling.ca.
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