NDP urges quick action on coroner’s jury recommendations on farmworker deaths
VICTORIA - New Democrats have called on the provincial government to honour the victims and families of the 2008 Langley mushroom farm tragedy by fully implementing the 15 recommendations issued by the provincial Coroner’s jury on May 16.
"These families, whose courage and generosity have inspired myself and others - were the driving force behind the coroner's inquest. Despite some government reluctance, they pressed for an inquest and remained determined that no other workers and their kin suffer from this kind of terrible loss,” said New Democrat leader Adrian Dix.
"We stand with the families who have clearly said the findings of the inquest need to be applied in a systematic and timely fashion if they are going to have a real and lasting impact,” said Dix.
New Democrat labour critic Raj Chouhan raised the issue in the B.C. Legislature today, calling on Labour Minister Margaret MacDiarmid to accept all 15 recommendations and ensure that they are fully implemented.
Chouhan also asked the government to strengthen penalties in order to deter employers from putting workers at risk. He said that this tragedy exemplifies serious negligence on the part of an employer and demonstrates the need to find a way to deliver stronger consequences than the kind of fines levied on employers in this case.
“Even one death is too many in any workplace. We need to ensure worker safety measures in all industries are fully regulated and strictly enforced, and that the right deterrents are in place, “said Chouhan.
Dix and Chouhan also reminded that efforts to support the workers families continue. “These workers were the primary breadwinners for thirteen children. They have struggled emotionally and financially in the aftermath” said Dix. The Langley Farm Workers fund has been set up at Community Savings Credit Union. Donations can be made at branches in Vancouver and Victoria.