The Toronto Star is reporting that another Filipino worker killed in Canada was an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). Enrico Miranda worked as an engineer for twenty years in Dubai before coming to Canada.
Married with two children, Enrico Miranda worked for the Philippine Government’s National Irrigation Authority, before doing what millions of other Filipinos before him did: work in the Middle East to provide a better life for his family.
After his work in Dubai, Miranda and his two children, Richard and Patrick came to Canada after being sponsored by his wife, who had worked as a nanny under the Live In Caregiver Program (LCP).
Miranda spent ten years working for a placement agency that found him a temporary positions including work at a cardboard box factory as well as window and door installation.
In 2014, the temp agency sent him to Fiera Foods, an industrial bakery in North York.
FILIPINO WORKER KILLED IN CANADA EMPLOYED BY FIERA FOODS
Fiera foods is an industrial bakery, supplying baked goods to big name clients like Metro, Costco, Walmart and Dunkin Donuts.
He had just applied for a permanent position when he was crushed to death by a machine while he was cleaning it.
Enrico Miranda is the fifth temporary worker to die in an accident at Fiera Foods since 1999.
“Our dream was for our kids, our children, that’s why we are here,” Tay Miranda told the Toronto Star. “It is hard to believe, you know.”
Miranda’s family is now preparing to bring his remains back to the Philippines.
FILIPINO FAMILY KEPT IN THE DARK BY CANADIAN AUTHORITIES
Miranda’s wife has told the Toronto Star that the Ontario Ministry of Labour has not yet reached out, and that investigators from the Toronto Police Service has told them that his cause of death was due to a chest injury sustained during the accident.
According to Miranda’s wife, her husband’s fellow workers at Fiera Foods told her that despite his death, production did not stop at the factory.
DEAD OFW HAD PREVIOUS ACCIDENT AT WORK
Prior to his duties at the time he was killed, Miranda had worked in the production line of Fiera Foods. He had fractured his ring finger while operating a dough mixer.
According to his son, Richard, supervisors at Fiera Foods instructed his father not to file a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claim.
Instead he was told to report for work and get paid while he recuperated.
ONTARIO LABOUR LAW PROHIBITS COVERING UP INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS
Under Labour Law in the province of Ontario, it’s illegal for any company to discourage their workers to report workplace accidents.
Richard told his father to report it to the WSIB shortly after the first accident, but doesn’t know if he did. Miranda was moved to cleaning duties, thinking it was less dangerous than the production line.
FIERA FOODS LAWYERS UP, CLAIMS THAT COMPANY DID NOT DISCOURAGE OFW TO REPORT FIRST ACCIDENT
Fiera Foods issued a statement to the Toronto Star through their lawyer David Gelbloom: “I believe that is the reason why he wanted to go to a different (department), because he thought it was less dangerous.“
Gelbloom continued to say that it was “categorically false to allege that he was in any way dissuaded from reporting this injury. This did not, and would not have, occurred. In fact, this minor injury was fully documented, and all appropriate steps were taken. The information on this injury remains available to the WSIB as is required of us.”
Gelbloom also said that after the fifth death at their company, Fiera Foods was reconsidering using temp workers.
“Although our use of temporary workers is a direct result of fluctuating demand and in line with our competitors, we have also taken steps to reduce the temporary portion of our workforce and convert employees to full-time where possible,” he told the Star.
FIERA FOODS WAS ALREADY UNDER INVESTIGATION WHEN OFW WAS KILLED
The Toronto Star was already investigating Fiera Foods at the time of Miranda’s death. Requests by the Star for additional details from the Ministry of Labour investigation would take a year.
FILIPINO WORKER KILLED IN Canada REMEMBERED AS A GENEROUS MAN
At the Dufferin St. area funeral home where Miranda’s family held his visitation, he is remembered as a generous man who instilled discipline in his children.
Miranda never had his foreign credentials assessed when he came to Canada. Like many OFWs before him, he struggled without Canadian experience, working odd jobs here and there until he found the temp agency which placed him in Fiera Foods.
NOONE FROM FIERA FOODS SHOWED UP AT DEAD OFW’S FUNERAL
Miranda’s family that while representatives from the temp agency came to offer their condolences, no-one from Fiera Foods came to the visitation.
His family said that they received a call from Fiera Foods’ lawyers, offering to pay for the cost of repatriating Miranda’s remains back to the Philippines.
The last time Miranda’s family was in the Philippines was four years ago, when Richard got married. Now they are going home to give relatives in their native Pampanga a chance to pay their final respects.
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