AS reported by The VOICE last week, Amrik Singh Gill, 59, of Delta died after a motor vehicle incident in Burnaby on September 15. He was working as a security guard at a site in Burnaby which was being set up for a film shoot the next day. An unattended truck rolled backwards and struck him. He was immediately rushed to Royal Columbian Hospital, but succumbed to his injuries shortly after arrival at hospital.
The BC Coroners Service, WorkSafeBC, and RCMP are investigating the death.
But are they REALLY aware of what’s going on with film production companies operating in B.C.?
AN angry and upset union member phoned me on Monday to lash out at the American film production companies, government departments and the union for allegedly turning a blind eye to what’s going on.
He was not specifically talking about the Gill case itself (only the inquiries that follow will establish what exactly took place and whether the accident could have been prevented), but about what he claims has been taking place.
He noted that some of the film production companies are form the U.S. and added: “In the United States, they adhere to all the rules very stringently. They have the Department of Transportation rules for commercial vehicles; commercial drivers and they [companies] adhere to them. Here, no one enforces.”
He said he had been dealing with Victoria about this for three years, trying to get some kind of enforcement, but with no result.
He added: “So when people work that many hours, you are impaired. There’s been many, many studies on people working crazy hours, and here they just turn a blind eye. I don’t know what it is!”
He alleged: “The film production companies don’t care because no one’s giving them any hell for it. They are not forced to adhere to the rules of a normal commercial vehicle operator. Like people in the trucking business, any commercial vehicle has rules and these are also commercial vehicles, these are also commercial drivers but no one cares. So it doesn’t surprise me.”
He said it would be interesting to see what happens at the Coroner’s inquiry.
He alleged: “None of those production companies have any records of anything. So when the Coroner says to them ‘show me the pre-trip inspection for the truck that killed Mr. Gill, show me the paperwork on that truck,’ I’d be shocked if they have it.
“They are keeping a record of how many hours they work to get paid, but no one’s keeping a record of on-duty time. And that’s the tip of the iceberg for this stuff.”
He also lashed out at the union, saying: “The union is not the employer. The union doesn’t care. The union just sends guys to the production company to go work in that film and after that they just wash their hands off it. They are not responsible for anything. The production company’s responsible and no one’s keeping any of those records.
“The American production companies go ‘you know Canada, you are the Wild West. No one’s giving us any problem up there.
“And the union’s position is that ‘the guys aren’t working 12 months of the year, so it’s really in our interest if they work 16-18 hours a day – it doesn’t really matter because they’re not working every month like that.”
But, as the union member noted: “It only takes a few months of a production to drain people where they become a danger.”
I think the provincial government needs to look into this matter seriously. This shouldn’t just be about making big bucks from U.S. companies by turning a blind eye to such violations.