OHS Canada Magazine

On-the-job murder leads to $170K fine for Ontario employer


An Ontario company has been fined nearly $170,000 after one of its workers was murdered on the job.

On July 24, 2020, an employee at a home in Kemptville, Ont. – operated by Pathways to Independence – was injured and killed as a result of workplace violence.

Pathways to Independence is a community based, not-for-profit agency providing assisted community living services and supports to people with an acquired brain injury (ABI) or a developmental disability who may also have complex needs based on their unique goals, abilities, and choices, according to its website.

“We promote independent, active lifestyles so the people we support can live their best life in their community,” it says. “We support people to be as independent as possible based on their goals and choices.”

Night of attack

On July 24, 2020, a worker employed by Pathways arrived for their overnight shift, working alone, at one of the assisted living group homes operated by Pathways, which is headquartered in Belleville, Ont.

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Shortly after, a co-worker received a call indicating that the worker on the overnight shift had been fatally injured. The co-worker returned to the workplace to find the worker on the floor unresponsive, and immediately called 911.

The worker was transported to a nearby hospital and was pronounced dead.

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development determined that Pathways failed to reassess the risk of workplace violence as required.

Accordingly, on July 24, 2020, Pathways committed an offence contrary to section 32.0.3(4) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Ministry said in a press release.

Penalty imposed

Following a guilty plea in provincial offences court in Brockville, Ont., Pathways to Independence was fined $135,000 by Justice Richard Knott.

The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, bringing the total fine to $168,750. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.