Ministry of Labour investigating fatal fall at Toronto WWTP

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A worker died after falling 30-stories in August at Toronto’s Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant during construction on the Coxwell Bypass Tunnel project.

The Ministry of Labour is investigating any factors that may have led to the fall for Orlando Aponte, who moved to Canada from Venezuela in 2012 with his wife and four children.

Jay Dee Contractors issued a statement following the August 17 loss of Aponte, a member of their east Toronto tunnel project team.

“We intend to fully understand the circumstances that led to this incident and will provide all necessary support to ensure a thorough and transparent review,” announced Mike DePonio, president of Jay Dee Contractors of Canada, in a statement. “Jay Dee Contractors will be providing grief counseling and support to employees affected by the incident. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones.”

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Family members also released a statement noting that Aponte had earned his real estate licence last year and was eager to begin his new career path as a realtor. 

“Those who knew him are aware that his positivity, authenticity, and passion for life were contagious, leaving behind fond memories,” family members stated on a GoFundMe page that has already tripled its $20,000 goal. “He always went the extra mile to help anyone he could, often putting his own interests aside.”

The family noted that Aponte’s “sudden departure has left us not only emotionally devastated but also facing financial challenges.”

In spring 2023, the Ontario government announced an additional investment of $12.5 million for safety associations, the not-for-profit corporations that deliver workplace health and safety programs on behalf of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

The Coxwell Bypass Tunnel project is a 10.5-km tunnel designed to prevent combined sewer overflows from entering Lake Ontario and the Don River. Ashbridges Bay is Toronto’s largest sewage treatment plant, with treatment capacity of 818,000 m³ per day.

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