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Okanagan widow feels blindsided by WorkSafeBC

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An Okanagan widow feels like she’s been left out of the loop regarding WorkSafeBC’s investigation into the death of her husband. Quinn Cormier died after getting pinned between two vehicles at a Penticton auto dealership – May 31, 2019

It was April 2017 when tragedy struck at a Penticton auto dealership. An employee had become pinned between two vehicles.

The employee was Jennifer Cormier’s husband, Quinn Cormier, who died at the scene.

There’s been a WorksafeBC investigation, but Cormier feels like she’s been left out the loop from the beginning.

READ MORE: Accident at Penticton automobile dealership claims life of employee

“Most of the things I learned through the media,” Cormier said.

For starters, Cormier says it wasn’t WorkSafeBC that provided her with the incident report on what happened the day her husband died.

“I actually received my first copy of the report from a reporter,” she said.

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Cormier also recently found out that Skaha Ford had been fined — more than $31,000 for workplace violations leading to her husband’s death — again through the media.

“Then I found out that the administrative penalty had been issued March 21 and I did not receive a phone call that the penalty had been levied,” said Cormier.

That’s strike two against WorkSafeBC as far as Cormier is concerned.

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Strike three is the latest development. Cormier has just learned that the fine imposed as a result of her husband’s death is being reviewed.

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The new owner of Skaha Ford, who bought the business last March, says he didn’t ask for the review. Brad Jinjoe says it was WorkSafeBC that called him and suggested he launch the review.

“The only three things that can happen out of the review is there could be a 30 per cent increase to your fine, a 30 per cent decrease to your fine, or the administrative penalty stays the same,” said Jinjoe.

Comier says she found out about the review by speaking of Skaha Ford.

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“I had learned that WorkSafeBC had advised them to file the appeal, which is something that I was not explained or even told,” she said.

WorkSafeBC told Global News that when an employer receives a fine, like Skaha Ford did, it’s standard procedure to inform the guilty party that an independent review process exists.

Cormier feels the fine should be higher and and feels that WorkSafeBC can use a little work on its people skills and communications.

“I do think that WorkSafeBC needs to step back and look at their policies in how they handle the people left behind in these investigations,” Cormier said.

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