MFL Lobbying Pays Off on Westray Law Enforcement
The Westray law enables criminal prosecutions of employers responsible for workplace deaths. Passed nine years ago, the law has been largely unenforced. Only six charges have been laid across Canada. There have been no charges in Manitoba. But thanks in part to lobbying by the MFL, that may be about to change.
For the past six months, the Manitoba Federation of Labour has been lobbying Manitoba police, Justice Department officials and Labour Department officials to take the necessary steps to ensure the Westray law is enforced. At every meeting our message was well received. Instead of defensiveness, police and regulators indicated a willingness to review their procedures. Manitoba Ministers of Justice and labour committed to play a coordinating role, facilitating the discussions needed to ensure the Westray law is enforced.
On May 15, the Winnipeg Free Press reported on this progress. You can read the story here.
The job is not done. We will closely monitor progress on these commitments. Families of workers who fall victim to workplace tragedies deserve to know that these deaths are all investigated through the lens of the Westray law. Employers need to know that there will be tough criminal consequences if they act irresponsibly with the health and safety of workers they employ. This is how we can truly honour the memory of the 26 workers killed 20 years ago in Nova Scotia.
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