Category Archives: Transportation

Taxi-company director gets jail sentence for owed wages

SAULT STE MARIE — Hugger Inc., a taxi company known as Checker Cab which is no longer in business, and Hugh Irwin, director of the company in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, were sentenced on October 24 for failing to pay wages owed to more than 30 claimants, totalling nearly $75,000.
According to a court bulletin from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, the case dates back to April 2014, when the Ministry responded to employee complaints about the failure to pay wages at Checker Cab. The Ministry’s employment-standards officer issued the company and its director 63 orders to pay, but the orders were not complied with, and an application to review the orders was not filed.
The director, who failed to pay wages owed, pled guilty and was given a 15-day jail sentence for 32 of the count. He was also ordered not to be involved in any capacity, other than being an employee, in a business for the period of one year. The company received a $1,000 fine for each of 31 counts, including a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge. The company is no longer in business and the director has since filed for bankruptcy, the bulletin states.

Irving Oil fined after guilty plea in Lac Mégantic incident

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Irving Oil Commercial GP was issued a $4 million fine on October 26 after it pled guilty to 34 counts for offences under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act in Saint John Provincial Court.
The fine comprises a financial penalty of $400,320 and $3.6 million for the implementation of research programs to improve the safety of the transportation of dangerous goods in Canada. In addition, Irving Oil was ordered to submit a corrective measures plan and follow up with Transport Canada (TC), according to a Public Proseution Service of Canada statement.
Following the train derailment in Lac Mégantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013, a joint investigation by TC and the RCMP found that Irving Oil did not comply with all applicable safety requirements by failing to determine the classification of dangerous goods for the crude oil it transported by train. The shipping documents on board the trains were erroneous, and the company also failed to train its employees in the transportation of dangerous goods adequately. These offenses occurred over an eight-month period from November 2012 to July 2013, during which approximately 14,000 cars transported crude oil for Irving Oil.
Minister of Transport Marc Garneau says in a statement, following Irving Oil’s conviction, that his thoughts continue to go out to the community of Lac-Mégantic and all those affected by this tragedy. “Today, we close another chapter in this tragic event through a settlement that we have reached with Irving Oil.”
Garneau adds that following the Lac-Mégantic incident, TC undertook a regulatory investigation, with the assistance of the RCMP, to determine whether a violation to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act had occurred.
“Rail safety remains my top priority. Transport Canada continues to closely monitor the safety of rail operations and the system, as well as the safe transportation of dangerous goods by all modes of transport across Canada,” Garneau says.


Fatal forklift accident leads to $135,000 fine for thermal-processing firm

NEWMARKET, Ont. – An employer in Newmarket was recently fined $135,000 for a workplace incident two years ago that led to a temporary worker’s severe injuries and eventual death. The incident occurred on Oct. 22, 2015, when the temp was working as a beltline operator’s assistant for Bodycote Thermal Processing Canada Inc., according to a court bulletin from the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL). The worker was entering a pathway between conveyor beltlines and was hit by a forklift that the beltline operator was driving, causing severe injuries; the temp worker passed away several months later. The MOL investigation determined that stacks of empty bins had blocked the workers’ views and that the workplace had nothing to separate forklift and pedestrian traffic or designated safe crossing points. At the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket, Bodycote pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that workers were not endangered by forklifts, that stored items did not limit sightlines of forklift drivers or pedestrians and that forklift and pedestrian traffic was sufficiently separated. Justice of the Peace Karen Walker imposed the fine, plus a victim fine surcharge, on Oct. 13 of this year.

TSB investigating collision between drone and passenger plane

Following a mid-air collision between an unmanned aerial vehicle and a passenger plane – the first such incident recorded in Canada – near Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport on Oct. 12, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has launched an investigation.

The aircraft, a Skyjet Beech King Air A100, was arriving at the airport from Rouyn-Noranda, Que. that day while carrying two crew members and six passengers, according to an investigation page on the TSB website. After the plane passed the final approach fix, the crew noticed the drone near the left wing; the drone hit the plane at about 450 metres above the ground, causing scratches, scrapes and some paint transfer.

The crew declared an emergency, but no one was injured and the aircraft landed safely, the TSB noted.

In an Oct. 15 press statement, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau expressed relief that the collision had resulted in nothing more than minor damage to the plane. He noted that Transport Canada (TC) was monitoring the situation.

“Although the vast majority of drone operators fly responsibly, it was our concern for incidents like this that prompted me to take action and issue interim safety measures restricting where recreational drones could be flown,” said Garneau.

“I would like to remind drone operators that endangering the safety of an aircraft is extremely dangerous and a serious offence. Anyone who violates the [Canadian Aviation Regulations] could be subject to fines of up to $25,000 and/or prison. This applies to drones of any size, used for any purpose.”

TC had received 1,596 reports of drone incidents to date in 2017, 131 of which had been “of aviation safety concern,” Garneau added.

The TSB announced its investigation in a deployment notice on Oct. 17. Leading the probe is Kristina Schoos, who has more than 15 years of experience as a helicopter pilot. “In the course of her career, she has been responsible for flight and ground training and worked as assistant chief pilot,” the TSB stated about Schoos.

International drone manufacturer DJI, whose North American headquarters are in Los Angeles, said in an Oct. 17 statement that it was unaware whether any of its products had been involved in the incident, but that the company was “ready to assist Canadian aviation authorities” if needed.

“DJI drones are programmed by default to fly no higher than 120 metres, and the Quebec City airport is restricted in DJI’s geofencing system,” the statement added.

According to TC’s interim measures, it is illegal to fly any recreational drone less than 5.5 kilometres away from an airport without authorization. Final regulations on recreational drones are still being developed.

Man arrested for threatening, assaulting transit employee

WINNIPEG, Man. – The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) has arrested a 24-year-old man who is accused of assaulting a Winnipeg Transit employee on the morning of Oct. 18. According to a WPS media release, a man entered a bus by the back door without paying a fare and then verbally abused the driver when the latter confronted him. Shortly afterwards, a transit inspector tried to speak with the passenger, and the man threatened and assaulted the inspector, even tearing his uniform in the scuffle. Police were contacted at about 11:58 a.m., and both workers restrained the suspect until WPS General Patrol officers arrived. Winnipeg resident Daniel Caneda was charged with assault, uttering threats and mischief under $5,000.

TTC employee, 50, dies of injuries eight days after workcar accident

A 50-year-old subway-track maintenance worker with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has died after a workplace accident left him severely injured in the early morning hours of Oct. 1.

Tom Dedes succumbed to his injuries at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre on Oct. 9, more than a week after the incident, according to a TTC news release. Dedes had worked for Toronto’s transit system for 18 years, the release noted.

The incident occurred at about 2 a.m. on the 1st, when Dedes and other TTC employees were moving equipment from a pickup truck onto a workcar at McCowan Yard, a rail yard in the eastern borough of Scarborough. After the workers had finished loading the workcar, a locomotive pulled the vehicle and swung the tail end of it towards Dedes, who was standing between the workcar and the truck.

The force of the workcar pinned Dedes against the truck and caused major internal injuries, the TTC said. He was immediately rushed to the hospital.

“On behalf of the entire TTC family, I send my deepest condolences to Tom’s parents and his partner, Gina, at this very difficult time,” TTC CEO Andy Byford said in a press statement. “Our thoughts are also with Tom’s co-workers as we all come to terms with this tragic and shocking event.”

Brad Ross, the TTC’s executive director of corporate communications, offered his own condolences on Twitter.

“The TTC family is in mourning today,” Ross tweeted after Dedes’ passing.

A press release from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, one of the unions that represent TTC workers, stated that several union personnel had paid their last respects to Dedes and visited his family at Sunnybrook. These members included Local 113 president Frank Grimaldi, secretary-treasurer Kevin Morton and health and safety representative Andrew Falotico.

“Our 11,000 members are in mourning today with the tragic death of Tom Dedes,” said Grimaldi in a media statement.

“Across the city, our members are thinking of his family and friends, including his parents and partner, Gina. Our thoughts are also with Tom’s track-crew sisters and brothers at the TTC’s Greenwood Yard and McCowan Yard, who are dealing with the loss of a great man who left us too soon,” he added.

“While our thoughts are first with his family, our union is strongly committed to the health and safety of our members. The Ontario Ministry of Labour will conduct an investigation, and our union will do whatever we can to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.”

The TTC stated in its release that it had notified the Ministry immediately after the incident and was cooperating fully with the investigation. An internal TTC probe is ongoing as well.

On Oct. 10, Toronto Mayor John Tory ordered all official flags at the City Hall and other civic centres to be lowered to half-mast out of respect for Dedes, according to Tory’s Twitter account.

The TTC has been providing grief counsellors for Dedes’ co-workers and is consulting with his family about special arrangements for his funeral.

Skid-steer accident claims construction worker, 38

A construction accident with a skid-steer machine claimed the life of a 38-year-old male worker in Stony Plain, Alta. on the afternoon of Sept. 25.

The fatality happened at a housing development, according to Trent Bancarz, a spokesperson with Alberta Labour. The worker was killed by unexplained crush injuries while operating the skid steer, a type of small utility tractor.

“We really don’t know exactly what happened, because there were no actual eyewitnesses to it. Somehow, whatever he was doing, he suffered crush injuries, which were fatal,” explained Bancarz. “It’s the condition he was found in.”

He added that the victim had been an employee of Sparling Concrete, a construction and design company based in Stony Plain. “I’m not even sure exactly his relationship to the project, whether he was a contractor or a sub,” said Bancarz. “That’s another thing we’re sort of looking into right now.”

The incident occurred at about 1:15 p.m. that day, said Corporal Ron Bumbry, a media-relations officer with the Alberta RCMP. Cpl. Bumbry confirmed the victim’s age and said that he had been a resident of Stony Plain, but could not provide much more information.

“There was nothing suspicious or criminal in nature for us to report,” said Cpl. Bumbry, noting that the occupational health and safety division of Alberta Labour had taken over the investigation.

Sparling Concrete did not respond to COHSN’s request for comment.

“Our investigation continues,” said Bancarz.

Founded in 2007, Sparling Concrete provides concrete-based construction and furniture-design services for private and commercial clients in Edmonton, Stony Plain and Spruce Grove, according to information from the company’s website.

While the causes of the fatality are still to be determined, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety in Hamilton, Ont. offers the following tips on operating loaders, including skid steers, on its website:

  • Read and follow all safety instructions in the loader’s operating manual;
  • Stay alert at all times during operation;
  • Keep the bucket and attachments as close to the ground as possible, to keep the vehicle stable and the view clear;
  • Always load the bucket evenly and under its maximum capacity;
  • Avoid holes, rocks and other obstructions;
  • Never operate a loader when ill, tired or on medication that causes drowsiness;
  • Avoid using any loader with a cab that does not have rollover and falling-object protection;
  • Always remain inside the cab while operating steering levers and hydraulic controls;
  • Never leave the loader with the engine running or with the lift arms raised; and
  • Always keep the heavy end of the vehicle pointing towards the higher end when operating on a slope.

Maple Leaf Foods gets $110,000 fine after lift-moving injury

WOODSTOCK, Ont. – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has been convicted for violating occupational health and safety law following an employee accident at its Thamesford facility two years ago. According to a court bulletin from the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL), a worker was using an electric fork truck to load a one-person lift onto another truck on Sept. 4, 2015. But the truck moved away from the power loading dock and travelled down the concrete ramp outside of the dock, then struck a concrete wall. The fork truck and lift fell from the power loading dock, injuring the employee. The MOL’s investigation found that no one had blocked the wheels of the truck to prevent unexpected movement. In the Ontario Court of Justice in Woodstock, Maple Leaf later pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that workers were transporting materials in a way that the items would not tip and fall. Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson sentenced the corporation to pay a fine of $110,000, plus a victim fine surcharge, on Sept. 29 of this year.

Transport firm fined $84,000 for fatal truck accident in 2015

MONTREAL LAKE, Sask. – An occupational accident that resulted in a worker’s death two years ago has led to an $84,000 fine, including a $24,000 surcharge, for a transport company involved in the incident. A news release from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety stated that the accident had occurred near Waskesiu on July 27, 2015. An employee of Cowan Bros. Transport Ltd. was run over by a flatbed truck that a bulldozer was pushing that day, resulting in fatal injuries, the Ministry said. The employer later pleaded guilty in Montreal Lake Provincial Court to failing to ensure that workers’ activities did not negatively affect the health and safety of other workers. Cowan Bros. was sentenced to pay the fine on Sept. 21 of this year. “While everyone is responsible to create and maintain a safe and healthy workplace, employers carry the greatest responsibility because of their authority and control over the worksite,” the release stated.

Police officer among wounded in Edmonton terrorist attacks

EDMONTON, Alta. – Five people, including an officer with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), were injured in two related incidents that police are deeming acts of terrorism on the evening of Sept. 30. At about 8:15 p.m. that day, a man drove a white Chevrolet Malibou through traffic barricades near Commonwealth Stadium, according to an EPS media release. The vehicle struck a uniformed officer, and the driver then exited the vehicle and stabbed the wounded officer numerous times before fleeing on foot, police said. The officer was sent to a hospital with various injuries. The suspect went on to hit four civilian pedestrians with a U Haul truck later that night, police said. EPS officers have arrested a 30-year-old Edmonton resident in connection with the attacks. “Currently, we believe this is an individual who acted alone, although the investigation is in its early stages,” EPS chief Rod Knecht said in a press statement. “We are urging all Edmontonians to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings.” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley called the province’s first responders “incredible people” in an Oct. 1 statement responding to the attack. “Thank you to each and every one of our police officers, paramedics and firefighters who put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” she said.