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Defendants in London construction deaths scheduled for February appearance

Don Wall
Defendants in London construction deaths scheduled for February appearance

Court proceedings for several Ontario construction firms involved in three incidents that resulted in a total of four deaths in December 2020 are taking place throughout the first two months of this year.

Jan. 10 was the first appearance date for iSpan Systems LP and East Elgin Concrete Forming Ltd., charged with multiple offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) relating to the December 2020 collapse of part of a low-rise residential building under construction on Wonderland Road in London.

John Martens of Langton, Ont. and Henry Harder of Tillsonburg, Ont. died in the incident.

Seven charges in total have been laid against the two firms and an eighth charge has been laid against an individual for allegedly providing negligent advice that endangered a worker.

The first appearance took place via Zoom in London Provincial Offences Court before a justice of the peace. Multiple counsel appeared for the defendants and there was an application for the matter to be heard before a provincial judge, resulting in the cases being transferred to another courthouse where a provincial judge will preside.

Dave Simpson from the Ministry of Labour appeared as the prosecutor. The return date is Feb. 14 at 9:30 a.m.

In the second case, a first appearance for Limen Group Const. (2019) Ltd. was scheduled for Jan. 14 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto. Limen faces two counts related to a Dec. 14, 2020 death at a Toronto construction site, accused of failing to follow OHSA procedures or take precautions to protect a worker, while four other charges were laid against individuals – two workers and two supervisors.

Andrew Orfanakos, 48, of Newmarket, Ont. died in the incident.

In the third case, a first appearance for A1 Quality Concrete, Demolition & Excavation will be held on Feb. 7 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor. The employer faces five charges for its role in a Dec. 29, 2020 death that followed the collapse of a wall three days earlier at a jobsite on Cantelon Drive in Windsor. The charges are related to failing to provide supervision, alert a worker to a hazard and follow procedures contained in the OHSA.

An individual faces five similar counts as an employer.

A fourth date to watch is Jan. 31, when a coroner’s inquest is scheduled to begin to investigate the fatal collapse of a swing stage at a Toronto construction site in 2009. Four employees of Metron Construction, Alexsandrs Bondarevs, Fayzullo Fazilov, Vladimir Korostin and Aleksey Blumberg, died in the Christmas Eve incident.  

The inquest is expected to last a week. It will be conducted by video conference.

The project manager, Vadim Kazenelson, was convicted of four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one of causing bodily harm for failing to ensure protections against falls were in place.


Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

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