Blog Post #1163 – Inquest into the Death of Michael Albert Lavigne Announced

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Dr. Bonnie Burke, Regional Supervising Coroner for Central Region, Toronto East Office, today announced that an inquest will be held into the death of Michael Albert Lavigne.

Mr. Lavigne, 56, died on September 9, 2014, from injuries sustained while working at a construction site. An inquest is mandatory under the Coroners Act.

The inquest will examine the circumstances surrounding Mr. Lavigne’s death. The jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths.

The inquest is expected to last four days and hear from approximately eight witnesses.

The inquest will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 25, 2019, at the Coroner’s Court, Forensic Services and Coroner’s Complex, 25 Morton Shulman Ave., Toronto. Dr. Gautam Walia will preside as inquest coroner. Liesha Earle will be counsel to the coroner.

Held at: 25 Morton Shulman Ave. Toronto
From: April 29, 2019
To: May 2, 2019
By: Dr. David Eden
having been duly sworn/affirmed, have inquired into and determined the following:

Name of deceased: Michael Lavigne
Date and time of death:  Sept. 9, 2014 at 10:35 a.m.
Place of death: Scarborough General Hospital, Scarborough, Ontario
Cause of death: Blunt force trauma to the torso
By what means: Accident

The verdict was received on May 2, 2019
Coroner’s name: Dr. David Eden​
(Original signed by coroner)

We, the jury, wish to make the following recommendations:

Inquest into the death of: Michael Lavigne

To the Province of Ontario:

  1. Consider the study of whether a license should be required for the operation of excavation equipment.
  2. Require that the Ministry of Labour instruct excavator rental companies to provide their customers with information on how to access relevant legislation and guidelines, for example the Ministry of Labour Excavation Hazards document.
  3. Require that all municipalities upon receipt of a notice of excavation, direct property owners to Ministry of Labour’s information on occupational health and safety, to lower the risk of death/injury.
  4. Require that the Ministry of Labour work with industry partners to ensure that safety app for phones and other electronic devices also translate the information in different languages.
  5. Require that the Ministry of Labour supply the guides and plain language documents in other languages.
  6. Consider a study by Ontario One Call to determine whether information on the hazards of excavation should be provided when they are contacted.

To the City of Toronto:

  1. Require that the city provide information on the hazards of excavation when they are contacted.

My opinion

Not everyone knows that a Coroner’s Inquest is mandatory for the ‘Construction’ and ‘Mining’ sectors in Ontario. An inquest is optional for the ‘Healthcare’ and ‘Industrial’ sectors.

I do not necessarily agree with the verdict. A JHA (Job Hazard Assessment) should have been completed and a piece of excavating equipment should have some sort of “Competency” training before using said equipment. Section 93, subsection 3 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ sector regulation 213/91 states,

“All vehicles, machines, tools and equipment shall be used in accordance with any operating manuals issued by the manufacturers.”

Section 14, subsection 4 of regulation 213/91 states,

“An inspection shall be made at least once a week or more frequently as the supervisor determines is necessary in order to ensure that the machinery and equipment referred to in subsection (3) do not endanger any worker.”

Section 14, subsection 5 of regulation 213/91 states,

“A competent person shall perform tests and observations necessary for the detection of hazardous conditions on a project.”

The driver was not competent to drive the machine and, therefore, the site had a hazard on site not recognized by the “Competent Person”.

The death of the worker should have been worth more than just another inquest.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259 We can also be reached at 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.



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