Ontario Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn in Sudbury; April 2015
Ontario Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn in Sudbury; April 2015

By Angela Gemmill

After a year-long review, which included public input sessions, the Ontario Ministry of Labour has come up with 18 recommendations to improve health and safety in mines across the province.

M-O-L Chief Prevention Officer, George Gritziotis, provided Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn, the final 65-page Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review today in Sudbury.

Flynn says mining still remains a high-risk occupation, so these recommendations will hopefully help reduce fear and stress.

Among the recommendations are that all employers have a formal water management program to reduce hazards related to excess water underground; enhanced ground control protection to track and monitor seismic activity, regular mining risk assessments by the Ministry and employers and plans dealing with hazard management.

Gritziotis says personally he wants to see recommendations focusing on hazards and risks, move forward as soon as possible.

The review comes almost four years after the double fatality at Stobie Mine.

One of the victims’ mothers, Wendy Fram, has been a part of the review process from the beginning.

She says many people put a lot of work into the final result and she says this gives the families some closure.

The Ministry will work with industry partners to implement the recommendations.

Flynn says employers better treat these changes seriously, otherwise there will be legislative repercussions.

He says there are short-term, medium term and longer-term goals so there’s no set time-line for when these recommendations should be implemented.

An advisory group, which represents the mining industry, labour, government and impacted families, will meet in early May to determine which recommendations will be top-priorities.

In the meantime, the Coroner’s Inquest into the 2011 Stobie mine deaths of Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier, begins Monday, in Sudbury.

The Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review is available on the Ministry’s website: www.labour.gov.on.ca

(Picture: Ontario Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn, in Sudbury 2015)