'We’ll move mountains': Labour Minister vows to get to the bottom of Teeple Terrace tragedy
LONDON, ONT. -- Ontario Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton says the investigation into Friday's building collapse in London, Ont. is a big undertaking, but investigators are moving quickly.
“Literally within a half-hour of the incident happening on Friday we had Ministry of Labour inspectors on the ground, including an engineer. So we’ve been working throughout the weekend. I’ve committed to moving as quickly as possible to ensure that we get answers for the families because they deserve answers. And we’ll ensure we get to the bottom of this.”
A portion of a four-storey condominium under construction at Wonderland Road and Teeple Terrace collapsed late Friday morning, killing two people and sending five more to hospital.
McNaugton says one death and even one injury on a job site is one too many.
“Every worker deserves to go home to their families safely after a hard day’s work. We’re going to spare no expense. We’ll move mountains if we have to to get answers as quickly as possible for these families who are impacted by this tragedy here in London.”
Henry Harder, 26, left, and 21-year-old John Martens were killed in a partial building collapse on Teeple Terrace in London, Ont. on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (Source: H.A. Kebbel Funeral Home)
At the office of the London and District Construction Association (LDCA) flags were lowered to half mast on Monday.
Executive director Mike Carter said the association had many member contractors on that particular job site.
“It’s exceptionally close to home. Not only for our member contractors that were on the job, but for any and all contractors that were on the job and their employees. As I said, this extends way beyond LDCA.”
LDCA board chair Gerald Devries said he has never heard of such an incident in his 20 years in the industry. He said safety is priority one at any job site. “There’s a lot of moving parts. There’s a lot of trades on site and safety is paramount in a lot of those cases.”
The LDCA says it’s working on a plan to offer support to the victims’ families.
Meanwhile, McNaughton added that this is also a wake-up call to every business across the province.
"They have to step up. They have to be more vigilant to protect the health and safety of workers. And I want every worker in the province to know that if they feel unsafe on a job site in a workplace they can refuse work, and refuse to do that task."
Workers who feel unsafe can contact the Ministry of Labour anonymously at 1-877-202-0008.