Steelworkers call for criminal charges in Ottawa workplace death

The United Steelworkers Union is calling for criminal charges in the construction-site death of 25 year old Olivier Bruneau.

Bruneau was killed by a large chunk of falling ice at a condominium site on Preston in March of last year.

In a news release, Ontario union director Marty Warren noted there were Criminal Code amendments in 2004 that hold corporations criminally responsible for the deaths of workers.

They were passed in response to the Westray coal mine disaster in Nova Scotia, which saw 26 miners killed in an explosion in 1992.

Earlier this month the provincial government laid charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act against Claridge Homes and Bellai Brothers Construction, but the union does not think that goes far enough.

Warren alleged companies are still getting away with practices that kill 1,000 workers a year.

"We have been down this road before and we know Ministry of Labour charges are not enough to hold corporations criminally accountable for killing workers," he said.

Ottawa Labour Council president Sean McKenney called for criminal charges after workers claimed they had tried to point out the threat of ice accumulation before the tragedy occurred.

An Ottawa police investigation into the incident remains open.