British Columbia

Aquilini farm cited for worker safety again

B.C.'s high-profile Aquilini family has been fined again by WorksafeBC for alledgely recurring work safety problems on a blueberry farm in the Fraser Valley.
Francesco Aquilini's family owns Golden Eagle Ranch in Pitt Meadows. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

B.C.’s Aquilini family — the owners of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks — have been fined a second time by WorkSafeBC for allegedly recurring problems with working conditions on a blueberry farm in the Fraser Valley.

In July 2010, WorkSafeBC inspectors visited Golden Eagle Ranch, the Aquilini's blueberry farm in Pitt Meadows. The officials reported they had found vehicles used to transport workers in serious disrepair and that some employees driving the vehicles did not have valid licences.

Some workers were also reported to be transported while clinging onto flatbeds on the backs of trucks as they bounced along with unsecured loads. Those infractions prompted $60,000 in fines.

The same amount was also levied for a worker injured and allegedly not given timely access to first aid.

The Aquilinis appealed the fines but lost.

WorkSafeBC reported this week that a subsequent inspection found that the worker safety issues at the farm had not improved and in February imposed a further administrative fine of $125,000.

It's one of the largest fine handed out by the provincial government agency so far this year.


With files from the CBC's Chad Pawson