Three-and-a-half year sentence for supervisor of four men who fell to their deaths from a Toronto apartment building.
Published on Mon Jan 11 2016-Toronto Star
Construction manager gets prison in scaffold deaths.
A construction company project manager has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for an incident in which four workers died and another was critically injured after falling 13 storeys from a scaffold on a Toronto apartment building.
Vadim Kazenelson was found guilty last June of four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily injury for the Christmas Eve 2009 tragedy at 2757 Kipling Ave.
Kazenelson was a supervisor for Metron Construction on the apartment balcony repair job.
He said nothing after the sentence was handed down Monday morning, and was led out of the University Ave. court in handcuffs as spectators in the courtroom cried.
Alesandrs Bondarevs, 25, Aleksey Blumberg, 33, Vladamir Korostin, 40, and site supervisor Fayzullo Fazilov, 31, were killed when the 12-metre scaffold they were working on broke near its middle.
None of them were attached to a safety line.
Dilshod Marupov, then 22, who was partially secured by one of two lifelines on the scaffold, suffered severe injuries. A sixth worker who was secured by a lifeline survived with no injuries.
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Metron Construction was ordered to pay a $750,000 fine after pleading guilty to criminal negligence causing death in 2012.
The fine was the highest in Canadian history for criminal corporate liability.
Metron owner Joel Swartz was ordered to pay $112,500 after pleading guilty to four violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
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The company that manufactured the swing stage, Ottawa-based Swing N Scaff Inc., was fined $350,000 and Patrick Deschamps, one of the company’s directors, was fined $50,000.
The Ontario Federation of Labour launched a “Kill a Worker, Go to Jail” campaign immediately after the tragedy, calling for jail time for bosses whose criminal negligence results in a worker’s death.
The federation calls the sentencing decision for Kazenelson “historic” and noted that “his conviction and sentencing is the first of its kind in Ontario.”
“This court has the opportunity to make history by throwing Mr. Kazenelson behind bars, but justice won’t be fully served as long as only supervisors go to jail,” OFL President Chris Buckley said in a prepared statement before Monday’s sentencing.
“The OFL won’t stop campaigning until the employers who put workers lives at risk to earn another buck find themselves doing hard time in jail,” said Buckley, whose federation speaks for 1-million workers in 54 unions.
Holding workplace supervisors criminally responsible for harm on the job is a provision added to the Criminal Code in 2004 and can result in jail time.