Accent: Families press for mine safety inquiry – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Star – October 26, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Briana Fram misses being able to call her brother Jordan. On June 8, 2011, Jordan Fram, 26, and Jason Chenier, 35, were killed in Vale’s Stobie Mine when they were crushed by a 350-ton run of muck while working at the 3,000-foot level of the mine.

Briana was only 18 months younger than her brother. “It was a very close relationship that we had,” she told The Sudbury Star.

Since his death, she has gone to many of his friends’ weddings. “At every wedding there’s a picture of him standing there,” she said. “We always do a cheers to him. It never feels like the circle is complete, because he’s missing.”

On Monday, Sept. 16, Vale Canada pleaded guilty to three charges — linked to the deaths of Fram and Chenier — under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company was fined $350,000 on each charge, plus a 25% surcharge. Crown attorney Wes Wilson said it was the largest fine ever levied under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. Six other charges were dropped, as were charges against a mine official.

The Ministry of Labour later confirmed the more than $1 million levied from the fine would go to the City of Greater Sudbury. “We were never expecting to get that money,” Briana Fram told The Sudbury Star.

“I’m happy to see it go to the city, as opposed to the Ontario government. No amount of money is ever going to bring back Jordan and Jason. You can’t look at the dollar figure.”

Fram said she hopes the two will have more input with the city than they would with the province. She said they want the money to be used to commemorate her brother and Chenier in some way.

For the Fram family, and the families of other miners killed on the job, ensuring a safe work environment for those who currently work in the industry is more important than any fines or monetary compensation. To that end, the families established the Mining Inquiry Needs Ever yone’s Support (MINES) Committee to push for a comprehensive inquiry on mine safety in Ontario.

According to the Ministry of Labour, there have been 18 mining-related fatalities in Ontario since 2007.

To date, the provincial government has shied away from a safety inquiry for the industry. Instead the Liberals have opted for a comprehensive review of the mining industry that would bring the unions, industry representatives and groups like the MINES Committee to the table.

“It is time to thoroughly look at mine safety and prevention across Ontario from top to bottom,” Yassir Naqvi, Ontario’s minister of Labour, told The Sudbury Star. “I’m not interested in having a process that takes forever without any concrete results.”

Naqvi said the Ministry of Labour has focused on prevention, and created the office of the chief prevention officer to that end.

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