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Newfoundland Commitment to Criminally Investigate Workplace Deaths and Injuries Must Be Matched Across Canada

TORONTO – The United Steelworkers (USW) is applauding the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s (RNC) announcement that it will apply a criminal lens to serious injury and death that occur at workplaces throughout the province.

USW Canadian Director Ken Neumann welcomed news that the RNC is working with the Calgary Police Service to train officers to start criminal investigations at the site of every incident, rather than securing the scene and handing things over to Occupational Health and Safety officials.

“This is a significant development that sends a strong message to employers about their responsibility to provide safe workplaces,” Neumann says.

“Too many Canadian workers die every year in preventable tragedies. The announcement by the RNC should be a wake-up call to negligent employers that there will be consequences to their actions.”

Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, says the Steelworkers’ national campaign, Stop The Killing, Enforce The Law, is having an impact across the country.

“Since the disaster at the Westray mine in 1992, Steelworkers have been fighting to see bad employers who put the lives of their employees at risk be held criminally accountable. We won’t stop our efforts to call attention to the need for the Westray Law to be enforced. This step taken by the RNC adds more momentum to our campaign,” says Warren.

The move by the RNC builds upon similar steps taken in Nova Scotia and Alberta, as well as positive work by the Toronto Police Service, and should be a uniform standard across the country, says USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt.

“No matter which province they go to work in, workers deserve protection and family members of victims deserve justice. It is now incumbent on every provincial government and every police service in Canada to ensure that the Westray Law is being properly applied and enforced,” says Hunt.

The United Steelworkers’ Stop The Killing, Enforce The Law campaign has garnered the support of hundreds of local governments, community groups, First Nations and individuals. Visit www.stopthekillling.ca for more information.

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For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW Canadian Director, 416-544-5951
Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, 416-243-8792
Stephen Hunt, USW Western Canada Director, 604-816-2554
Sylvia Boyce, USW District 6 Health and Safety Coordinator, 905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca

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Communications Director:
Bob Gallagher
bgallagher@usw.ca
416-544-5966 or
416-434-2221

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Dominique Fontaine
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416-544-5991 

Communications Department - Québec
Clairandrée Cauchy
ccauchy@metallos.ca
514-774-4001 

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