Fiera Foods appointed the former attorney general of Ontario, David Young, to lead a review of its health and safety practices in the wake of a fatal accident involving a contingent worker at its facility in Toronto, the company said in a statement released earlier this month.
The Sept. 25 death of the worker, Enrico Miranda, sparked a protest by worker rights groups.
Fiera Foods also said it is cooperating with the Ministry of Labour.
“Any workplace fatality is tragic, and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our job sites,” according to the statement.
The company also said workers at its sites are fully trained.
“As an employer, we prioritize the health and safety of all people who enter our facility including contractors, temporary employees or full-time staff,” according to the statement. “Temporary workers and full-time staff receive the same training, education and support. Unfortunately, a segment of labor leaders continues to politicize this matter, perpetuating the incorrect allegations that potential penalties and worker status somehow correlate to health and safety.”
Fiera said it plans to learn from the accident and ensure something similar does not happen again.
The Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services is also working with the Ontario Ministry of Labour in the follow-up to the incident. However, none of its member staffing firms are suppliers to Fiera Foods.
“Unlike fly-by-night temp agencies who don’t share our values, ensuring the safety of those we serve is a top priority for ACSESS members,” said Mary McIninch, executive director of the organization.
Unions say Miranda’s death was the fifth such death at Fiera and affiliated workplaces since 1999. The company was fined C$300,000 in September 2017 by the Ontario Ministry of Labour for the death of a contingent worker on Sept. 2, 2016.