Toronto has had enough of the bakery where workers keep dying
When tragedy strikes for a fifth time, something must be done.
That's how many are feeling in the wake of the fifth death at Fiera Foods, a North York industrial bakery that supplies retailers such as Sobey's and Dunkin Donuts.
Less than a week ago, a temp worker was crushed and killed by a machine that turned on while he was cleaning it.
Five temps have died from workplace accidents at this factory or one of its affiliates since 1999, and The Ministry of Labour is now investigating.
My thoughts to the family of the worker who died at Fiera Foods on Wednesday, and to the families and loved ones of the four who have died since 1999.— Andrea Horwath (@AndreaHorwath) September 26, 2019
One death is too many. Five deaths is inexcusable.
We need answers now. #onpoli https://t.co/Bh07hCNbz8
About 100 labour advocates, union organizers, and legal clinics rallied to demand justice for those who died preventable deaths.
Community and worker groups are protesting the killing of a fifth worker at Fiera Foods in Toronto. Organizers say when the company heard about the rally, they cancelled workers’ shifts without pay — but the day of the recent killing, workers were had to finish their shifts. pic.twitter.com/9RsLdgLz12— Tom Parkin (@TomPark1n) October 2, 2019
"We’re filled with heartbreak and rage, because we know this death could have been prevented," Navi Aujla, a former temp worker and organizer with the Workers’ Action Centre, said in a statement.
"All five workers who were killed at Fiera since 1999 were temp agency workers, and this is no coincidence."
Protesters and critics are calling on the Ontario government to enact better legal protections for workers, and they're also demanding that Fiera Foods be investigated for criminal negligence causing death under Canada’s Criminal Code.
Rallying for #FieraFoods workers today. This company cancelled shifts to avoid the rally, but not when the 5th worker died. It is time for the Conservatives to implement the law to hold companies responsible for workers’ safety. #onpoli pic.twitter.com/zNL5qexxME— OFL (@OFLabour) October 2, 2019
In Ontario, the cost of injuries to temp workers gets charged to the temp agencies, not to the companies that hire and employ them.
And though a measure was introduced by the previous Liberal government to fix this, the Ford government has yet to implement Schedule 5 of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act which would protect more temp agency workers from getting hurt.
How many vigils do we have to organize?— Roxanne Dubois (@roxannedubois) October 2, 2019
Calling for #FieraFoods to be held to account for its crimes. For the Ontario government to enforce safety laws. For a province where people come home after a day's work. For justice for temp agency workers.#onpoli #canlab pic.twitter.com/5FS2vPnRrb
Instead, under the Ford government, things have actually gotten worse.
Since taking office, the PC government has lowered fines for employers who break the law and allowed temp agency workers to be paid less than their coworkers.
"Proud to be standing with the Labour community remembering the workers killed at Fiera Food. No one should lose their life at work," one of the protesters wrote on Twitter.
"We need to stand up for all workers in this city, especially those who do not have the ability to speak up for themselves."
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