Who killed Joshua Remigio? Will we ever find out who did it? Sadly, he will be blamed either partially or fully for his own demise last week at the age of 29 while working on an electrical panel in a greenhouse in Leamington, Ontario. There was far more information released about what happened to him than what is normally first reported after a traumatic workplace incident in Ontario. The standard news report, which was written 70 times in 2017 and likely in equal or greater frequency this year, is usually:
“The Ministry of Labour is investigating a fatal incident at ______ on _______.
A worker was ______ said _______ spokesperson with the ministry.
_______ spokesperson with _______ Police, said officers responded around ____ to the incident, which occurred at _______ .
A ___ year-old construction worker was transported to hospital by paramedics ____ said, but later succumbed to his injuries.
“This is currently a coroner’s investigation and our officers will support the coroner throughout the investigation,” said _________ “The Ministry of Labour is simultaneously conducting an investigation into the cause of the incident.”
Stop-work orders have been issued to the company until conditions are met regarding operating manuals for equipment, the inspection of equipment by a competent worker, and the provision of information, instruction and supervision to a worker.”
In the print dominant days, these reports were generally relegated to the back pages or used as filler for a blank between ads. Nowadays, you will rarely see this story as the opener on a home page unless it is a super slow day. When the stop work order is lifted, the wheels will continue to turn. No flowers, candles or teddy bears will be placed at the scene. No brass plaque will ever mark the spot where someone has given their life for industry and business, as they do time and again in this province and the world over every single day.
There will be no honour parade for Joshua on Leamington’s Erie Street to the church or graveyard. Fellow workers by the thousands aren’t going to fly in from all over North America to attend the ceremony. He won’t be on the top of the news cycle for a week or two with an endlessly scrolling montage of photos cribbed from Facebook and Instagram. No sombre footage will be shown of the partner and family heading forlorn into the memorial service. A weaponless murder doesn’t get many eyes on the page or screen and never seems to raise the ire of the public. We continuously forget and the cycle is given permission to continue by all.
If someone walked into a public place and killed 70 people, it would be the dominant news story for years. Yet scores of people dying under similar circumstances for the same reasons in a steady stream has trouble getting on the radar, unless it can be framed in a tidy manner like an episode of Law and Order. When this many people die, it isn’t an accident or one off tragic incident, it is a pattern like any that would be left by a serial killer. By its nature and structure, a certain amount of injuries and fatalities are required to keep industry profitable and please shareholders. Google any random large company name followed by the word “death” and you will get some idea of the body count necessary to maintain a profitable portfolio. That is by design, not by accident.
There will be a report issued in a year or two, which may get a mention beyond the trade papers but probably not. The business and the bosses may get a fine, or possibly not, but no one will be paying attention except for health and safety advocates and the labour community, who will then be accused of playing politics with a tragedy. Joshua will not be addressed by name in the findings but referenced merely as “a worker”, leaving one to piece together which incident it was and where it happened to be able to put a face to the fallen.
Who killed Joshua Remigio? Will we ever find out who did it? We all know exactly who it was but we are all complicit in letting the culprits go free, every single time.
May he rest in peace and never be forgotten.
This piece was originally published on Scotty’s blog