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Metron Construction fined $200K in deaths of 4 workers

A Toronto construction company has been fined $200,000 in the death of four workers in a scaffolding mishap.

The rare conviction for criminal negligence causing death against Metron Construction Corp. is the first of its kind in Ontario under the Criminal Code. The company had faced a fine of up to $1 million.

The incident occurred on Christmas Eve in 2009, when high-rise scaffolding snapped in Toronto, sending four workers plunging to their deaths and leaving one badly hurt.

Metron pleaded guilty, but charges against its owner, Joel Swartz, were dropped. But he was fined $90,000 after pleading guilty to violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Labour activists are upset with the judge’s decision, saying they wanted to see jail time, not just fines.

The fines against Metron and its owner were imposed by Judge Robert Bigelow of the Ontario Court of Justice.

In addition to the OHSA fines, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act, the labour ministry said in a release. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Other defendants facing charges stemming from this incident are still before the court, the government said.