OHS Canada Magazine

P.E.I. companies must pay $40,000 for roles in workplace accident 

Site supervisor fined $2,000 for 2019 incident at potato warehouse


By Alison Jenkins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

(SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I., THE JOURNAL-PIONEER) — Two construction companies and a supervisor have been fined for their parts in a workplace incident that has left a P.E.I. man in a vegetative state.

Ryan Mahar was injured in a workplace accident in September 2019 when he fell around 20 feet from scaffolding.

Seymour DesRoches Construction 2011 Ltd. and G.E. MacNeill Construction have been fined $40,000 each.

Sean Campbell, the supervisor on the jobsite the day Mahar fell, has been fined $2,000.

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Campbell, as well as Mitchell DesRoches of Seymour DesRoches Construction 2011 Ltd., George MacNeill of G.E. MacNeill Construction were in Summerside provincial court Oct. 7 to hear Judge Krista MacKay’s decision. All three parties had previously pleaded guilty to charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Penalties do not measure grief: judge

MacKay quoted from the R. v. New Glasgow (2008) decision which said, “There is something discomforting about the discussion of dollar amounts when it happens in the context of a person’s death. It could be properly said of any amount, that it does not come close to being enough. It does not measure the grief of a family and of a community.”

MacKay said, “I refer to this quote because I want the family to know that the penalties we are talking about are in no way a reflection of the value of the life of their loved one.”

The facts were read and agreed upon in court Sept. 30, and MacKay summarized them in her sentencing hearing Wednesday.

“Essentially, the employers and the supervisor involved in the construction of a potato warehouse in Elmsdale did not ensure the safety of Mr. Mahar while on the jobsite,” said MacKay.

“The lack of a fall arrest system resulted in his fall from an 18-foot-high scaffolding on which he was standing.”

She said that without the joint recommendation that she might have suggested a higher penalty, but ultimately she accepted the joint recommendation of the Crown and the attorneys representing the accused.

Of the $40,000 levied on each company, $35,000 will be paid to the Workers Compensation Board and will be used for training and education around fall prevention.