Vadim Kazenelson, the project manager for Metron Construction, was sentenced today to 3½ years in prison for criminal negligence.
This is the longest-ever jail sentence handed down for criminal negligence under the “Bill C-45” amendments to the Criminal Code in 2004 that made it easier to convict workplace supervisors for criminal negligence.
The charges relate to the tragic accident on Christmas Eve 2009 in which four workers – who were not wearing fall-arrest equipment – fell to their death after a construction swing stage, on which they were working, failed.
CBC News is reporting that “during sentencing, Justice Ian MacDonnell said Kazenelson was aware that fall protections were not in place, but still allowed his workers to board a swing stage that collapsed, causing five workers to plummet to the ground.”
Mr. Kazenelson has appealed his criminal negligence conviction and has been granted bail pending that appeal.
According to CBC News, the prosecutor was seeking a jail sentence of four or five years, whereas the defence was suggesting a one- or two-year jail sentence.
CBC News reports that Justice MacDonnell said that Mr. Kazenelson put the company’s interest — in particular getting the work finished ahead of a December 31 deadline — before the safety of workers when the decision was made to continue work without safety harnesses.
The June 26, 2015 decision in which Mr. Kazenelson was found guilty of criminal negligence, may be accessed here.