Canada: Ontario farm pleads guilty to worker’s death, first COVID-19 case prosecuted under provincial safety laws

Scotlynn Farms, based in Vittoria, Ont., has pleaded guilty in the COVID-19 death of one of its workers. It’s the first COVID-19 prosecution of an employer under the occupational health and safety laws in the province.

Juan Lopez Chaparro died June 20, 2020, after contracting COVID-19 from Scotlynn Group farm where he was employed. The Ontario farm now faces 20 charges. (Submitted by Chaparro Family)


Scotlynn Farms agreed to pay a fine of $125,000, plus $31,250 for court costs.

The Norfolk County farm was facing 27 charges under the Reopening Ontario Act and the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. Seven of those were laid against Scotlynn Sweetpac Growers Inc. in April 2021, and another 20 charges were added in September 2021. Those new charges were split between the Scotlynn Group and its president and CEO Scott Biddle.

According to the agreed statement of facts, Scotlynn employs approximately 220 agricultural workers who live in bunkhouses that can accommodate between eight and 50 people.