Whenever I see an apartment tower, I think of the stories of people I can’t forget.
On December 24th, 2009, Fayzullo Fazilov, Alexsandrs Bondarevs, Vladimir Korostin and Aleksey Blumberg were fixing concrete on the outside of an apartment tower. The suspended scaffold they were working from split – they died from a 13-story fall.
The swingstage they were working from was faulty. Their employer didn’t give them fall protection equipment – that’s the story of why they died.
I’m the managing director at the Workers Health and Safety Centre. With building trades unions, we campaigned for new laws to ensure suspended equipment is maintained and every construction worker receives working at heights training.
We ignored those who said the job was too big to be done. We keep telling the story of the workers who died. We kept focused on saving lives.
We won – by 2017, 500,000 workers finally got good, hands-on, working at heights training. At the Workers Health and Safety Centre, we trained 200,000 workers.
The change is saving lives – deaths from construction site falls is down.
But it took eight years for the Ontario Liberals to act. While they stalled, people died.
I’ve never waited for Liberals. I never waited to fight privatizations. Or win better health and safety laws. Or be on the doorstep for good candidates. Or to speak up as a columnist and commentator.
When we act, we change people’s lives. Sometimes we even save them.
I’m running to be our NDP MP for Parkdale-High Park because people’s urgent needs don’t wait for Justin Trudeau.
We win by talking with people about what really matters to them. And then we act.