November 7th, 2019

Gates questions Ford government on safety in skilled trades industry

Wayne Gates, Ontario NDP critic for Health and Safety and the WSIB, called on the Ford Conservatives during National Skilled Trades and Technology Week to do more to protect workers, raising the tragic death of Vadim Buzcel this summer, an 18-year-old worker who lost his life to a workplace incident after being assigned to do work he wasn’t qualified to perform.

“This week is skilled trades week in Ontario. It’s very concerning that this Conservative government continues to reduce the safety of skilled trade workers in our province,” said Gates. “Companies try to lower costs by cutting corners on safety, like not ensuring that employees on work sites have the proper training and certification.”

Buczel was working for Nord Electric when he was electrocuted and fell from a ladder on a job site. He died from his injuries in hospital.

“This summer we saw a tragic consequence of unsafe workplaces,” said Gates. “He was left alone to die, assigned to do work he wasn’t certified to do. This should never have happened.”

The Ford Conservative government has made multiple decisions to make workers less safe in Ontario. The Ford government:

  • Moved safety training out of the classroom, making it online-only
  • Cut the number of hours of safety training workers must complete
  • Extended the deadline for completing safety training, leaving workers at risk for longer
  • Lowered supervision requirements for apprenticeships, meaning less experienced workers will have less support on the job
  • Opened the door to allowing workers with less training to complete tasks currently restricted to specialized trades
  • Cut back on proactive workplace safety inspections
  • Cut employer contributions to WSIB instead of enhancing benefits for injured workers
  • Cut funding for the legal aid clinics that help injured workers access the support they’re owed

“Is this the type of work environment the premier wants in Ontario for our skilled trade workers and our young people who enter the trades?”