No jail time in double workplace fatality (Legal view)

But vigorous prosecution shows Ontario is ‘playing hardball,’ says lawyer
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/02/2008

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has dismissed a request from the Ontario Ministry of Labour to imprison a construction supervisor who pled guilty to violating the province’s health and safety legislation in the deaths of two construction workers.

Pasquale Di Franco was a supervisor on a Toronto condominium project in 2002. On April 26, wall forms on the 16th floor gave way while concrete was being poured. Three workers jumped onto a platform over an elevator shaft to try to prop up the forms and prevent the wall from falling. However, the cement spilled onto the platform, which collapsed. One worker was able to jump to safety but the other two fell to their deaths in the shaft.

Di Franco failed to have the formwork inspected by a professional engineer before the cement was poured and ordered the platform over the shaft to be made from materials that couldn’t support the weight of the three workers or the cement. After negotiations, Di Franco pled guilty to the charges on Nov. 25, 2005, and was fined $30,000. He also received one year of probation during which he had to take educational courses on workplace safety. The two corporations were fined $300,000 and $280,000, respectively.