Ontario rejects mine safety inquiry: Steelworkers union

Province planning review of mining practices instead, says union

Ontario has rejected a call for a public inquiry into mine safety, according to the United Steelworkers union.

Instead, the province is planning to announce a review of mining practices, the union says it has learned from a senior government source.

The Steelworkers say this falls short of the scope and standards of a commission of inquiry.

"Thousands of Ontarians have signed a petition demanding a mine safety inquiry because they understand what's at stake," said Marty Warren, the USW's Ontario director. "A review will not have the scope, authority and effectiveness of an inquiry. It will not have an inquiry's power to thoroughly and publicly examine the industry, to compel testimony and evidence gathering and to bring about meaningful change."

A petition campaign calling for an inquiry was launched following the June 8, 2011, deaths of Sudbury, Ont., miners Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier.

Family members of other miners killed at work also joined a citizens' committee created to demand the provincial government immediately convene a commission of inquiry.

The government’s plan for a review is expected to be announced soon by Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi. The minister will create a legislative review committee to consult with industry stakeholders, visit mining communities and review reports of previous inquiries and commissions, according to the Steelworkers.

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