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Ottawa man, 20, dies in hedge-trimming accident

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Ontario's ministry of labour is investigating after a 20-year-old Ottawa contractor died while working for a hedge-trimming company.

The workplace fatality happened on Friday in Manotick, a ministry spokesperson said. The man, 20-year-old Nick Chenier, was working for Best Green Hedges.

In a statement Monday afternoon, the company's owner confirmed Chenier died in a "tragic accident."

"I don’t think it’s possible to put into words the utter devastation of losing him - we're a close team, and Nick was like family to all of us," Sheldon Best Green said. "He always had a smile on his face, and was one of the most joyful and hardworking guys we have ever known.

"Spending time with Nick was everyone’s favourite part of the day, and he will be loved and missed beyond words."

The ministry of labour did not identify Chenier by name or give further details about the accident. But a GoFundMe started by a family friend said he was electrocuted.

"Sadly, Nick was electrocuted when he hit an overhead hydro line that was buried within the hedge (it had grown around it)," the GoFundMe page said. "Despite the best efforts of first responder and the Emergency Department at the Queensway Carleton Hospital they were unable to bring Nick back."

A ministry inspector and engineer attended the scene and issued four requirements the employer, the ministry spokesman said.

Best Green Hedges is a cedar trimming company whose website says it serves locations across the entire Ottawa region. The company is based in North Gower.

Ottawa mayor Mark Sutcliffe expressed condolences on social media Monday and shared the the GoFundMe Page, which is raising money for Chenier's mother and brother.

"I was devastated and heartbroken to learn of the loss of Nick Chenier in a tragic workplace accident on Friday," Sutcliffe said on Twitter.

The GoFundMe page is raising money for funeral costs, counselling services and Chenier's mother's lost wages as she takes time off work to grieve and support her son. The GoFundMe had surpassed its $40,000 goal as of early Monday afternoon.

In a statement, Hydro Ottawa said it was made aware of the incident on Friday, but could not comment further on the matter because it did not involve one of its employees or contractors.

"Friday's incident was tragic and we are all reminded how dangerous it is to work with and around electricity," the statement said. "We would like to reiterate to everyone that they do everything to ensure their safety.

The utility said residents should familiarize themselves with the location and voltage of the power lines around their home, and to always remain at a minimum of three to six metres away from wires at all times.

"The thoughts of the entire Hydro Ottawa organization are with the contractor's family."

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