ROCHON | GENOVA LLP, a leading class action law firm in Toronto, commenced a $2 billion class action lawsuit against Loblaws Companies Limited, Loblaws Inc, and Joe Fresh Apparel Canada Inc., on behalf of the victims of the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013. The tragedy killed at least 1,120 and seriously injured over 2,510 other garment workers. Many of the workers have suffered permanent injuries.
Joel Rochon, senior partner at ROCHON | GENOVA LLP stated, “This class action asks the Ontario court to hold these Ontario based companies legally accountable for the injuries and deaths suffered by the workers that make Joe Fresh garments who were employed in extraordinarily unsafe working conditions. When Canadian companies contract out manufacturing to third world countries to take advantage of the extremely low wages paid to workers, they must ensure that the working conditions for those employees are safe. When they fail to do so, they should be accountable for the harm caused to those employees”.
The class action alleges that the defendants knew that Bangladesh had a history of unsafe working conditions and failed to conduct proper inspections and audits of such conditions in the Rana Plaza building. Garment workers manufactured Joe Fresh apparel in this building. It alleges that Loblaws had a significant involvement manufacturing in Bangladesh and should have been aware of and prevented these unsafe working conditions. It also alleges that Loblaws failed to implement the industry standards for auditing and inspecting the working conditions for factories, including those standards publicly stated by Loblaws itself.
The claim pleads that at Loblaws’ 57th annual general meeting, on May 2, 2013, the Executive Chairman of Loblaws Companies Inc. acknowledged this as “a senseless tragedy” that “should not have happened” and stated “we are asking ourselves what more should we have done to ensure a safe working environment in this facility?” Mr. Rochon stated: “While it is encouraging that Loblaws has made a small contribution to an international fund established to compensate the victims, this is only a very small fraction of the fair compensation required for these victims and their families. Many of the victims were the sole ‘bread winners’ supporting large family groups. The suffering and loss has been profound.”
Mr. Rochon also commented that he “…hopes that Loblaws and the other defendants will accept legal responsibility to compensate the victims fairly and fully.” He welcomes Loblaws to negotiate fair compensation now.
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