Published on: 12/6/2013 1:37:19 PM Print | Font Sizes:  Normal Text Large Text

Province approves mining safety review

By: Northern Ontario Business staff

They did not get the government inquiry they had asked for, but the United Steelworkers in Sudbury and members of the Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone's Support (MINES) Committee said the provincial government's decision to start a mine safety review was a big victory.

Briana Fram, the MINES Committee's secretary, and Jordan Fram's sister, said the review would fulfil all the recommendations an inquiry would have achieved.
“It most definitely feels like a victory,” she said.

Fram's brother Jordan, and Jason Chenier, were killed in a run of muck at the 3,000-foot level of Vale's Stobie Mine in Sudbury on June 8, 2011.

In 2012, the United Steelworkers released a comprehensive report with 165 recommendations to ensure other miners would not face the same dangerous conditions that killed Fram and Chenier the year before.

One of the report's main recommendations was for the Ontario government to initiate a detailed mine safety inquiry. The last inquiry of the sort was conducted in 1981, and the Steelworkers argued changes in technology and mining practices necessitated a fresh look at the industry.

The MINES Committee was formed on Oct. 1, 2012, and immediately started a campaign to pressure the government for an inquiry.

Dec. 4, Queen's Park announced it would initiate a tripartite review of the mining industry, chaired by public representatives, union leaders and industry representatives.

Rick Bertrand, president of United Steelworkers Local 6500, said the government had assured him the review would make effective and rapid change to improve safety in the industry.

“He (Ontario Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi) mentioned the review would be as good, if not better, than the inquiry the Steelworkers were looking at,” Bertrand said.

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