After a lengthy legal battle, a Sudbury widow and her family have been awarded just more than $2 million in damages for the 2006 death of Ray Campeau.
Campeau died May 25, 2006, at Podolsky Mine. A mechanic, he was working 2,000 feet underground when a winch he was trying to repair exploded, sending metal fragments flying at high speed. Campeau's legs were badly damaged and he died 90 minutes later. He was 47.
"A coroner’s inquest was held," said the court transcript of the lawsuit. "The coroner determined that Mr. Campeau’s death was caused by equipment failure – that the winch failed because required engineered tie-offs had not been installed to secure it."
Faye Campeau, his wife, sued the Province of Ontario in 2018, arguing the Ministry of Labour inspector had identified the winch as a significant safety hazard, issued orders that the problems be rectified, but failed to follow through.
"Ministry of Labour agents, having identified this danger and having ordered evidence of its compliance with safety regulations, thereafter failed to monitor and enforce their orders," said the statement of claim.
Winch was improperly used
"Had the commissioning and engineering reports been provided, they would have known that the winch was being improperly used to lift heavy equipment, that its brakes could fail as a result of such improper use, that the winch had no inherent safety features such as engineered tie-offs, and that a cable had been installed on the winch backwards. … Ontario’s negligence in failing to monitor and enforce its orders was a cause of the accident and Mr. Campeau’s death."
Despite several attempts by the courts and Campeau's legal representatives, the province failed to respond to the lawsuit. The judge in the lawsuit ruled that the province failed not in making an order to remedy the safety hazard, but in failing to ensure that order was implemented.
An expert report was filed estimating the amount of past and future economic losses the family suffered as a result. Past economic loss was set at $762,436 and future economic loss at $415,776.
The family was also awarded damages for loss of guidance, care and companionship. And Faye Campeau was awarded more than $511,000 for loss of "familial household services."
All told, the family was awarded just more than $2 million.
Read the full transcript here.