UPDATED: Criminal charges laid in 2017 death of driver

SUDBURY, Ont. – Criminal charges have been laid in the death of a 39-year-old dump truck driver in 2017.

Rheal Dionne was working for Sudbury, Ont.-based Rainbow Concrete when a concrete slab fell on the dump truck he was working in on Feb. 15, 2017, trapping him inside.

Rainbow owner Boris Naneff has been charged with criminal negligence causing death. Those charges have yet to be proven in court.

The United Steel Workers is commending the Greater Sudbury Police Service and other law enforcement officials for their work in this case.

Counsel for the defendants, P. Berk Keaney of the firm Weaver Simmons issued a statement after appearing in a Sudbury Ontario Court of Justice for pre-trial hearings on Aug. 2 saying they consider the charges without merit.

“Rainbow Conrete looks forward to defending the charges and obtaining vindication,” it read.

The union is calling on the government and other police services to enforce the law more strictly and lay more charges with regards to work deaths.

An Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) spokeswoman said the ministry isn’t responsible for enforcing the criminal code and the decision to lay criminal charges falls to police departments, but they can lay charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

The MOL laid 12 charges in this case under OHSA against the company, its owners and two supervisors. Those 12 charges were initially laid in December 2017.

The company is charged with failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of a worker, two counts of failing to ensure that the equipment it provided was maintained in good condition, four counts of failing to ensure that all reasonable precautions in the circumstances were taken for the protection of a worker, and a count of failing to ensure that material that may tip or fall and endanger a worker was secured against tipping or falling.

The owners were charged with two counts of failing to take all reasonable care to ensure that the corporation complied with the Act and its regulations, and the supervisors were both charged with one count of failing to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.

None of those charges have been proven in court, however if found guilty the maximum fine for offences under OHSA is $1.5 million for corporations and $100,000 for individuals. Additionally, an individual could see up to one year in jail. Those consequences will be determined by a judge.

The MOL says the OHSA and criminal charges could be tried together or separately, and that will be determined by the prosecuting team.

This story has been updated from an earlier version to contain more information including a statement from the defendants. 

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