The company managing construction at the Faro mine remediation site and a site superintendent have been charged for allegedly trying to intimidate workers, hindering safety officers and failing to maintain a safe workplace.
Parsons Inc. and Len Faber, who’s also the mayor of Faro, are facing five charges each under the territorial Occupational Health and Safety Act.
They include three counts of intimidating workers because they were “acting in compliance” with the act or its regulations; one count of “obstructing or hindering” two safety officers carrying out their duties; and “failing to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that the workplace, machinery, equipment, and process under the employer’s control are safe and without risks to health.”
The offences are alleged to have occurred between September 2018 and Jan. 1, 2019.
The charges were laid in September 2019.
Both parties made their first appearances in territorial court in November and were scheduled to enter pleas earlier this week. The matter, however, was adjourned to next year.
Andrew Robulack, manager of social marketing and communications for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board, said he couldn’t offer further details about the circumstances that led to the charges as the matter is now before the courts.
However, he said in an email that prosecution under the Occupational Health and Safety Act is “rare,” adding that the last time the board laid charges under the act was in 2012.
Parsons’ media relations director Bryce McDevitt said in an email Dec. 12 that the company doesn’t comment on “pending legal matters.” The international engineering firm was awarded an $80 million construction management contract for the Faro mine remediation project by the Canadian government in 2018. The company was in charge of care and maintenance services at the site before that.
Faber, who won Faro’s mayoral race in October 2018 by chance when his name was drawn out of a box after receiving the same number of votes as another candidate, did not respond to messages left at his home or work voicemail.
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada spokesperson Krisandra Reid wrote in an email that the federal agency, which is in charge of the remediation project, is “aware of the allegations filed” against Parsons and Faber.
“CIRNAC officials have discussed the charges with Parsons Inc. with a view to ensuring that the company and its employees are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act while providing services to Canada,” she wrote.
“The Department is satisfied that Parsons Inc. is taking the necessary steps to address the safety concerns and will continue to monitor this matter.”
Parsons and Faber are scheduled to make their next court appearances in January.
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