Ontario’s Casino Rama, the largest First Nations casino in Canada, has been fined $50,000 after being found responsible for a 2016 incident that left two employees critically injured. The two workers slipped and fell while walking down the casino’s parking lot which was covered in ice and snow.
Following a guilty plea, Justice of the Peace Michael Frederiksen in the Orillia court fined Casino Rama $50,000 for the slip-and-fall incident that took place in the parking lot two years ago. The casino was convicted on Wednesday for violating the provincial Health and Safety Act, the Ministry of Labour announced in a June 6 statement. In addition, the court imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, which would go to a special provincial government fund for helping victims of crime.
The incident in question happened in the winter of 2016 when a casino worker arrived and parked their car in the employee parking lot. While walking towards the building, the person slipped and fell to the ground, which was covered in ice and snow, court documents show. A group of casino employees immediately went to help the worker but one of them slipped on the ice and fell too. The two individuals were transported by an ambulance to the local hospital, where their injuries were described as critical.
An investigation by the Ministry of Labour followed and experts found out that the exact place where the two workers fell was extremely slippery. On that same day, seven other workers fell after slipping on the ice covering the parking lot, according to surveillance footage provided as evidence. According to the court, however, the casino was responsible for maintaining all areas safe and free of obstructions – not only the insides of the building but walkways and parking lots, as well.
Casino Rama Failed as Employer
Wednesday’s news release by the Ministry of Labour reveals that at the time of the dangerous incident, the casino had a special policy for snow removal. As per the rules, it had to process walkways and customer parking lots with road salt during the winter season. But its policy did not include applying road salt on the employee parking lot. This is a violation of Section 11(a) of Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation), the court says.
This particular provincial regulation requires companies and all employers to make sure all floors and other surfaces used by workers are “free of obstructions, hazards and accumulations of refuse, snow or ice”. In other words, employers have to guarantee the safety and the normal working conditions of everyone employed by them. While the casino applied salt on the customer parking area, it did not pay attention to the parking lot used by its own workers, which made the working conditions hazardous.
The court believes that Casino Rama Services Inc. has failed as an employer to guarantee that all procedures under Regulation 851 are carried out properly. According to the current legislation, the casino’s oversight is deemed an offence in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The hefty $50,000 fine imposed by the court was determined based on the severity of the injuries workers sustained during the incident.