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Ministry of Labour concludes fatal Barrie crash investigation

Ministry has issued three 'orders' and three 'requirements' to construction company; 'These are very typical and do not mean the company did anything criminal,' says worker

Officials from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) have completed their investigation of the crash that killed six young people in August.

As a result of their investigation, three orders and three requirements have been issued to the construction company working on the site in Barrie where the crash occurred.

MLITSD officials say that while they will assist Barrie police and the Office of the Chief Coroner with their investigations when needed, the ministry is finished their part in the probe of the crash that claimed the lives of six young people.

An email from the ministry's communications manager, Trell Huether, said that since Aug. 29, an MLITSD inspector has handed out three orders and three requirements to Condrain Company LTD., the company handling the construction in the area where the crash happened.

On Aug. 29, two requirements and one order were issued to produce documents and one additional requirement was issued not to disturb the scene. 

On Aug. 30, an additional order was issued to protect the health and safety of workers.

On Aug. 31, an additional order to produce documents was issued.

The email said that “all orders and requirements have been complied with and MLITSD’s investigation is now complete.”

A human resources representative at Condrain said “the company would not be commenting at this time.”

In the email from the ministry, Huether said the scope of MLITSD’s investigation focused on the application of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and requirements for worker safety at the construction site. 

“As previously reported, no workers were present at the site at the time of the incident,” said Huether.

A representative of the MLITSD explained to BarrieToday that an order is issued when an inspector determines that a contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is occurring and they order the "appropriate workplace party to bring them into compliance."

Requirements are types of orders issued when an inspector needs to gather information or determine/verify compliance. Examples given to BarrieToday were the requirement to provide documents, records or information or to keep employees away from the scene.

When asked about what the Aug. 30 order was for, the representative said they could not speak further to the matter but did say that in that case the term “workers” could have meant the investigators around the scene.

Ryan, a local construction worker of 12 years who did not want to give his last name, said he has not worked for Condrain or the McKay Road project, but has knowledge of orders and requirements and hopes people don’t jump to conclusions.

“These are very typical and do not mean the company did anything criminal. I don’t know who is at fault or not, all I’m saying is that these are things that could have needed correcting while the investigation was happening,” said Ryan.

“Think of all the people who would have been there the day or two after the crash, the ministry would have wanted safety protocols followed by law enforcement as well as site workers.”

On Sunday, Aug. 28, at approximately 2 a.m., while conducting a missing persons investigation, uniformed officers checked the construction zone and located a vehicle in a large hole in the middle of McKay Road, between County Road 27 and Veterans Drive.

According to a family member of one of the victims, the car plummeted into the hole — referred to by the city as a "tunnel access shaft" related to the residential development happening in the area — and then caught fire.  

The six victims — Haley Marin, Curtis King, Luke West, Jersey Mitchell, River Wells, and Jason Ono-O’Connor — were all in their early 20s and had been reported missing in the hours before the crash scene.

Investigators have determined the collision occurred shortly after 6 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Police say they believe the group was travelling to the nearby Gateway Casinos Innisfil (Georgian Downs), not far from the crash site.

A request for comment from the City of Barrie was not available in time for publication of this article.