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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

If real justice was served, this individual would serve multiple week sentences in the same asbestos laden facilities they are forcing employees to work in


In reading the following post, you may wonder, as did I, how an individual could possibly remain in business with multiple stop work orders – especially relating to asbestos removal.  WHY is the provincial NDP government allowing someone with over SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS IN UNPAID FINES ... contempt of court charges for continued violations ... and multiple stop work orders to continue in business.

HOUSE ARREST in a pig-eye! 


This individual, and others like them, should be forced to serve multiple week sentences in the same asbestos laden facilities they are forcing employees to work in ... and people living in neighbouring homes to be in contact with!

  
Labour advocates are calling on the province to require asbestos removal companies to be licensed after a serial offender was sentenced to house arrest for exposing workers and residents to harmful materials.

 Insulation industry advocates say this case and others highlight the need for regulation.

The asbestos removal business is simply out of control and it is critical that the BC government immediately move to license all asbestos removal and consulting firms so workers and residents’ lives are not being put at risk,” said Neil Munro, business manager for the BC Insulators Union, in a media release. “The flagrant violations happening across the province demand that action be taken to save lives from exposure to deadly asbestos.”

Last month the Supreme Court of BC sentenced Mike Singh, principal of Seattle Environmental Consulting Ltd. and Skylite Building Maintenance Ltd., to six weeks house arrest and one-year probation by Madam Justice Francesca Marzari after being found guilty of contempt of court for not obeying Workers Compensation Board orders to protect workers doing asbestos removal.

Justice Marzari stated that previous punishments had little impact on Singh’s compliance. Since 2010 he has faced more than $600,000 fines, mostly unpaid, for repeatedly breaching health and safety laws. He has also been permanently banned from working in the asbestos removal business after WorkSafeBC issued over 230 orders to comply with regulations.

The Workers Compensation Board had asked for a one-year jail term for Singh, however Justice Marzari opted for house arrest instead due to Singh’s personal life-threatening health concerns.


The BC Insulators Union, Vancouver-New Westminster Building Trades Council and BC Federation of Labour called Singh and his companies a “flagrant violator of safety laws”. They also noted that recently another company, H & B Construction Inc., was issued four stop-work orders by the Workers Compensation Board after it was reported that its workers were removing asbestos-contaminated material from a Vancouver house demolition site without proper protection.

Josh Towsley, president of the Vancouver-New Westminster Building Trades Council, says the Vancouver house demolition case put the community at risk as well as the workers removing asbestos from outdoor stucco.

There is absolutely no safe level of asbestos exposure for anyone, worker or neighbour, and this case shows how urgently we need the province to license any company removing asbestos,” said Towsley. “In addition to this outrageous situation, other unscrupulous asbestos removal companies have dumped bags of asbestos-contaminated drywall in back alleys in Vancouver and Burnaby in recent years, meaning anyone could be exposed to this carcinogenic material.”

According to the insulator’s union, the Workers Compensation Board issued 764 compliance orders in 2018 – on average two orders every day. The Workers Compensation Board also issued 95 immediate stop-work orders to asbestos abatement employers because of the seriousness of the violations and risk to workers.
 
Mike Singh of Seattle
Environmental Consulting
Munro says that in 2018 alone, the Workers Compensation Board issued 37 administrative penalties related to violations of asbestos regulations totaling $237,386 in fines – but only 17 have been paid in full, with $66,256 collected to-date.

There are other firms that owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid fines, with one company at well over $1 million owed to the Workers Compensation Board, Munro added. The B.C. Supreme Court has issued 12 injunctions against asbestos employers at the Workers Compensation Board’s request – to force them to obey the law, Munro says.

Laird Cronk, BC Federation of Labour President, explained that unions and the federation have been calling for the licensing and regulation of asbestos firms for several years.

These cases show the pressing need for the BC government to act now,” Cronk said. “They also demonstrate the need for a certified program for workers handling asbestos, as well as more resources to support proactive enforcement and monitoring.”

The officials highlighted that several other jurisdictions have licensed asbestos removal firms, including Washington State and Oregon in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia.

The models are there, the need is urgent and people are going to die from asbestos exposure, so let’s get it done and done now,” Munro said.

Labour advocates are also asking the province to train and certify asbestos workers, consultants and surveyors. In addition, they want the province to create new disposal sites, a disposal rebate program, standardized asbestos testing for laboratories and an awareness program on exposure risks in the automotive repair sector.

Finally, they want proper compensation for workers who suffer asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos is the leading cause of workplace deaths in B.C., predominantly from mesothelioma, with 47 work-related deaths recorded in 2018.

Comments

  1. Both the trail judge and the court of Appeal overlooked or ignored this fact as stated in section 196(7) of the Act.

    7. The Respondent’s In-house counsel made a “confession” before Mr. Justice Macintosh that was overlooked or ignored by the Court of Appeal and the Court a quo... In house Counsel stated or “confessed” as follows: -


    MR. BOWER: It may. But when dealing with exposing people or putting people at risk of exposure to asbestos, then those elements need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to prove that someone was put at risk of exposure to asbestos, well, first, the board would be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was asbestos there. And on a practical level that would require expert evidence. It would require a chain of custody beyond a reasonable doubt, from the taking of samples through to the testing and back to court. And in many cases that may simply not be practically workable where you're dealing with work sites, again, that are being torn down and disposed of in a matter of days.

    THE COURT: M'mm-hmm.
    MR. BOWER: The RCMP have to do that with drug cases. They have to do that when establishing DNA for court purposes and criminal cases.

    THE COURT: M'mm-hmm.

    MR. BOWER: They have more resources. They have internal laboratories. Practically speaking, the evidence that we are putting forward is the best that we can do at this point. And can we on the evidence prove beyond a reasonable doubt that people were in fact exposed to asbestos or were in fact at risk of exposure to asbestos? On this evidence we cannot prove those. And we're not even alleging that because of the burden of proof.

    (the “Bower Confession”)

    8. In-house Counsel of the Respondent throughout the various applications before the Court including the hearing before Marzari J., made crucial misrepresentations pertaining the nature of the Russell J. Order. For example, it is not evident ex facie the Order of Russell J. that it was an interim Order and that the Order was made without considering the facts and the merits.

    9. The following statements made to the Court before Macintosh J .is indicative of the misrepresentations made by In-house Counsel of the Respondent:


    15 THE COURT: All right. Just one second.
    16
    17 MR. BOWER: The order at issue, Madam Justice Russell's
    18 order of 2012, was not made ex parte. It was made
    19 after hearing fully from counsel for both parties,
    20 and rules governing an ex parte order, such .. as
    21 positive disclosure requirements on the party
    22 seeking the order or the test to set aside an
    23 ex parte order, are not applicable here. This
    24 order is not an interim injunction in the course
    25 of a proceeding that's hearing -- towards a final
    26 hearing that temporarily balances rights of the


    1 parties until a final hearing conclusively
    2 determines those rights. It was sought by
    3 petition pursuant to section 198.
    4
    5 THE COURT: She called it interim.
    6
    7 MR. BOWER: She called it interim, in my submission,
    8 simply to make clear that it could be, as in the
    9 application before you, My Lord, amended or
    10 perhaps even set aside at a later date. But it's
    11 not interim in that once the order was granted,
    12 there was not any further matter to be heard.
    13
    14 THE COURT: Oh, I see. It wasn't interlocutory.
    15
    16 MR. BOWER: It's not interlocutory.
    17
    18 THE COURT: It wasn't pending a final resolution on a
    19 point.

    ReplyDelete

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