Ministry of Labour no longer investigating death of worker in Essex

A spokesperson confirmed that a man who died while carrying out farm work for the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association was not an employee.

Deceased was carrying out farm work for, but not employed by, WETRA

The Ministry of Labour previously said that the worker was pinned by a piece of equipment they were operating. (The Associated Press)

The Ministry of Labour is no longer investigating the death of a man who died while working for the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association (WETRA) in Essex.

The man — who CBC News has confirmed is named Alex Durham — reportedly died after getting pinned by a piece of equipment he was operating at the time. 

"Our inspectors have learned that this fatality actually does not fall under the ministry's jurisdiction," said Janet Deline, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour. "This incident occurred on a farm and the deceased was not a worker as originally reported to us, so we are therefore no longer investigating."

WETRA described the deceased as "one of our farming partners," later clarifying that he was not an employee of the association. 

"He was the owner of his own custom bailing business and was hired to bale WETRA's hay crop," wrote Paige Shepley, WETRA program director, in a previous email. 

According to Deline, Ontario's labour ministry doesn't typically conduct investigations if incidents occur at "a family farm where there are no paid workers."

"In this case, we've determined that this person was on a farm and that this person was actually not a worker, so therefore it does not fall under our jurisdiction," explained Deline. 

Deline said she's not clear about the worker's connection to WETRA.

With files from Sanjay Maru