Individual Fined $15,000 After Refusing to Cooperate With Ministry Inspectors
Toronto, ON – Marcelo Ponciano, a representative with Toronto-based Asbescan Environmental Company Inc., was fined $15,000, for violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act, after refusing to cooperate with Ministry of Labour inspectors.
A ministry inspector visited a house renovation project on Roxton Road in Toronto and found live electrical wires, poor housekeeping and debris that could potentially contain asbestos. The inspector issued stop-work orders on the project, including one requiring the project owner to produce a designated substance report.
Two days later, ministry inspectors visited the site after they were notified that the house interior had been cleaned, a violation of the stop-work order. They were approached by Ponciano, who said he was called in to handle the asbestos concerns. The inspectors told him that as a result of the cleanup, a ministry hygienist would need to take samples the next day at the worksite and that no work was to be done without the hygienist present.
The following morning, ministry inspectors found Ponciano with two other workers. An inspector told Ponciano that no work was to be performed until the hygienist arrived. Ponciano then reached over the stop-work barrier to take a sample. The inspectors told him he was breaching the stop-work order and told him to stop. Ponciano proceeded to take another sample. The inspectors asked Ponciano to identify himself. He refused, despite being told he was required to do so by law. The inspectors also approached one of Mr. Ponciano’s co-workers to request identification. Mr. Ponciano told the worker not to cooperate.
After a trial, Justice of the Peace Alice Napier fined Mr. Ponciano $15,000 for failing to cooperate with ministry inspectors. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.