The family of Todd Maytwayashing, a Lake Manitoba First Nation man who died in a 2018 workplace accident at Manitoba Hydro's Limestone Yard while working on a transmission line from Manitoba Hydro’s Keeyask Generating Station to the Radisson Converter Station, is taking legal action against Manitoba Hydro and two Alberta-based contractors – Forbes Bros. Ltd. and GST Logistics.
The civil suit, filed by Mary Maytwayashing, comes after Forbes Bros. pleaded guilty and were fined $150,000 in provincial court in Thompson Feb. 12 for one count under the Workplace Safety and Health Act of failing to have a safe work procedure in place with respect to dunnage and the loading of trucks.
Six other charges related to the January 2018 workplace death of the 22-year-old were stayed.
Barry Swan, Maytwayashing’s father, feels he’s faced discrimination while seeking justice.
“If Todd were another race, this would have been handled a lot differently,” he said. “That’s what he [the lawyer] said.”
“We feel like we’ve been sold out,” Swan said. “Quite honestly, no one cares about our family. What does this mean for other people’s kids moving forward? What message are we sending to the kids? I don’t want to see anyone laying dead at work like Todd because someone is unsafe and just wants to make money.”
Swan alleges that Workplace Safety and Health relied on an investigation done by Forbes Bros. “How can anyone make up a lie about a story like Todd’s?” he said. “Workplace believed them. We are waiting for Forbes Bros. to file their defence in order for things to proceed.”
A spokesperson for Forbes Bros. said, “Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health did conduct their own investigation; it was their investigation on which the evidence for the charges was based.”
Swan said he thought Forbes Bros. was going to be prosecuted for a more serious charge than the one they pleaded guilty to.
“I’ve written a letter to the chief medical examiner of Manitoba in hopes of starting an inquest, but we’ve heard nothing back.”
Swan said that he “almost fell down and died in Thompson when they announced charge number five was the only one, the rest they got away with.”
“What does that do moving forward?” said Swan. “What does that do for Manitoba?”
A Forbes Bros spokesperson said the company sympathizes with the Maytwayashing family.
“We acknowledge that no amount of fine will bring back Todd and nothing can take away the pain and suffering of his family, friends and the community.”