Workplace Tragedy Raises Many Questions

The Alberta Federation of Labour is demanding a full and transparent investigation into the death of two workers and injury to four others yesterday in Fort McMurray. The AFL is also calling on the Federal government to launch a public inquiry into the temporary foreign workers program following the tragedy.

"Our first thoughts go to the families and co-workers of the workers. There can be nothing more horrible than losing a loved one due to a workplace accident," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "A large number of questions arise about why this accident happened and what factors led to such a horrible tragedy. Questions for which we need answers."

"I have asked Monte Solberg, federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to call a public inquiry into the tragedy," says AFL President Gil McGowan, "paying particular attention to any relationship between the temporary foreign workers program and the accident."

"Labour has consistently questioned the lack of oversight, inspection, education and enforcement of the program in the area of workers' rights," says McGowan. "Our concerns have included whether or not these workers even know their basic rights - including basic health & safety regulations and procedures."

"I have also asked that if the investigation does point to weakness or failings with the temporary foreign worker program we start moving very quickly to address those weaknesses and failings," says McGowan. "Finally, we asked that labour play an integral part in any inquiry."
"We have also asked Iris Evans, the Alberta Minster responsible for Occupational Health & Safety, to make sure that the accident and fatality investigations will be transparent and thorough. The need to find out exactly how these workers' rights have been communicated to them and what steps have been taken to ensure that those rights are in fact enforced on the job," says McGowan.


For more information contact:

Gil McGowan, President Bus: (780) 483-3021 Cell: (780) 218-9888


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