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Rainbow Concrete guilty in 2017 death of Rhéal Dionne

Sudbury company fined $1,000, will pay family additional $150,000 within 18 months
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Rainbow Concrete was convicted Tuesday of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the 2017 death of Rhéal Dionne. (File)

Rainbow Concrete was convicted on Feb. 12 of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the 2017 death of Rhéal Dionne.

Dionne was driving a dump truck at Rainbow's Maley Drive location on Feb. 15, 2017, when part of an archway on the property collapsed on top of the truck cab, killing him.

Rainbow Concrete and owner Boris Naneff were charged last summer using the Westray Bill. The law allows the owners of companies to face criminal charges when investigators believe they have not taken “reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.”

In Sudbury court on Feb. 12, the charge against Naneff was dropped, while the company pleaded guilty, received a $1,000 fine and was given 18 months to pay Dionne's family $150,000, on top of $50,000 it has already provided them.   

Passed in 2004, the Westray law was a result of a 1992 mining tragedy at a coal mine in Plymouth, N.S., where an underground methane explosion killed 26 miners. A 1997 inquiry into the disaster concluded the mine had been seriously mismanaged, safety rules were ignored and there was poor oversight by government regulators.

Officials with Westray refused to take part in the inquiry, prompting calls for legislation to hold negligent companies criminally responsible in certain cases where workers are hurt or killed.

USW Local 6500 in Sudbury welcomed news of the charges under the bill when it was announced last summer. The union has been supporting the Dionne family, and offered representation. 

Following the 2017 tragedy, a joint investigation by the Ministry of Labour, the Coroner’s Office and Greater Sudbury Police Service took place.

The Ministry of Labour laid 12 charges against Rainbow Concrete, its owners and two supervisors in relation to the same incident, but that was reduced to the charge of criminal negligence causing death, which Rainbow Concrete pleaded guilty to on Feb. 12.