RCMP investigating COVID-19 death of Alta. Cargill worker after family files complaint


Tyson Fedor, CTV News Calgary (Canada)

Jan 11, 2021


CALGARY -- RCMP are reviewing a complaint filed by the family of Benito Quesada, the worker at the Cargill Protein plant south of Calgary who lost his battle with COVID-19 last May.


Foothills County RCMP say the review will look at the allegations surrounding Quesada’s death, which the family and union representing Cargill workers believe is criminal in nature.


Quesada tested positive for the virus in April 2020 before being taken to hospital, where he was comatose and placed on a ventilator. The 51-year-old died in hospital on May 7, 2020.


 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401 say the death could have been prevented if the company had listened to the concerns of employees and the union earlier.


"The Quesada family has suffered an unimaginable loss," said UFCW Loc. 401 spokesperson Michael Hughes. "They are courageously taking this step in an effort to seek justice for Benito, asking the RCMP to investigate the possibility of criminal negligence in Benito’s death."


Quesada was a union shop steward and had worked for Cargill since 2007.


The outbreak at the Cargill meat plant located near High River, Alta. saw 951 employees test positive for the virus, accounting for nearly half the facility's staff.


The union called for a two-week shutdown of the plant as the virus spread rapidly but their calls went unanswered for weeks.


Cargill was shut down for 14 days beginning on Apr. 20, 2020 in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.


The workers Compensation Board of Alberta says there have been a handful of COVID-19 related workplace deaths...