Workers Health & Safety Centre

Worker death leads to criminal charges for northern mining company

Worker death leads to criminal charges for northern mining company
Detour Gold Corporation has been charged with criminal negligence causing death in connection with a worker fatality at its mine site near Cochrane, Ontario.
 
According to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Detour Lake mine worker Denis Millette was repairing equipment on June 3, 2015 when he was observed to be in medical distress. Though assisted by on-site medical staff, he died. An investigation found the death was caused by acute cyanide intoxication. 
 
The OPP recently issued an update on their investigation including the fact Detour Gold Corporation has now been charged under the 2004 Bill C-45 amendments to the Criminal Code.
 
This Bill, also known as the Westray Bill, was named for the 1992 Nova Scotia coal mine disaster that killed 26 miners. A public inquiry into this preventable tragedy led to many recommendations including the need to amend Canada’s Criminal Code to ensure companies as well as corporate executives, directors and those who direct the work of others are held properly accountable for workplace safety.
 
"Without a union at this mine (Detour Lake), we are missing crucial details on the circumstances in this tragedy,” says United Steelworkers Union (USW) national director Ken Neumann. The USW led the 10 year lobbying effort for Bill C-45. 
 
“We want to know whether corporate directors and executives will be included in any prosecution."
 
With the criminal investigation into the death of Denis Millette ongoing, police ask anyone with information to call the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch at 1-888-310-1122, the nearest police authority or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
 
For our part, the Workers Health & Safety Centre offers Bill C-45 training to help workplace parties better understand the concept of criminal negligence, criminal liability and many other legal terms related to this legislation. This includes the duties of workers, lead hands, supervisors, members of joint committees and employers.
 
Want to know more about Bill C-45 and recent criminal prosecutions?
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Bill C-45 frequently asked questions (scroll down to Bill C-45)
 
To learn more about Bill C-45 training or how we can help your workplace with other training obligations: