Baker Anja Dumas (middle) cuts the first pieces while dignitaries prepare to hand out cake to festival goers on July 1, 2017. - Image: Alistair Waters

Canada Cake baker loses arm in dough mixer

Famous for her Canada Cake, West Kelowna baker Anja Dumas lost her arm in a workplace accident

A West Kelowna bakery has been fined thousands of dollars after an employee lost much of her right arm in a dough-mixer accident.

A WorkSafeBC penalty report says Nature’s Oven Foods was fined $6,279.52 after a “worker at this firm’s commercial bakery was operating a dough mixer when the worker’s arm was drawn into the machine. The worker sustained serious injuries.”

The employee, Anja Dumas, was well known for making the ‘Canada Cake’ that was used each year at the celebrations in West Kelowna.

Dan Albas, Member of Parliament for Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola in British Columbia, recognized her in the House of Commons in May.

“Unfortunately Anja was recently involved in a tragic accident and she lost the majority of her right arm, but she is a fighter,” Albas told the house.

“She has said she looks forward to receiving a prosthetic and to continue making the Canada Cake for years to come.

“I’m personally inspired by Anja’s optimism in the face of adversity. She represents the best of us…I am immensely proud to know her.”

The WorkSafeBC fine was imposed in July 2017 after the accident earlier this year.

The investigation determined the company was at fault due to a modification they had put on the dough-mixing machine.

“WorkSafeBC’s investigation found that the guard on the dough mixer had been modified from its original design by the addition of a hinged opening in the guard that was large enough to allow access to the interior while the mixer was in operation,” reads the WorkSafeBC report.

“The firm failed to ensure its machinery was fitted with adequate safeguards to prevent workers from accessing hazardous points of operation.”

WorkSafeBC investigators also determined Nature’s Oven Foods failed to provide workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety.

Nature’s Oven president and general manager Arnie Kouwenhoven said the company is a family business and Anja will be returning to work there.

“We feel terrible and actually Anja is coming back to work for us,” said Kouwenhoven.

“She was offered that immediately, she knows she can come work for us because we are a family operation.

“We are working with WCB to become WorkSafe compliant in all aspects of our business. We are working with them and they are working with us.”

Dumas is the head baker of the Westside Daze Canada Day cake and takes great pride in her annual creation.

Related: The story behind the Westside Daze Canada cake

“It’s my baby!” she said with a laugh on July 1, 2017.

Measuring 4 feet by 6 feet, the giant Canadian flag truly is a labour of love, and a logistical challenge.

“I have a great crew to help me with this project,” said Dumas. “We start on Thursday, slicing 40 pounds of strawberries used for all the red parts of the flag. On Friday, Nature’s Oven Bakery allows us to use their facility after their production run is finished for the day, so we can bake all the cake. Then everything is moved to the Lions Hall, where we can use their air conditioned commercial kitchen to put it all together.”

Although she isn’t a professional baker, Dumas has been making the cake since she and her husband Pierre started volunteering for Westside Daze back in 2008. She first was a helper for baker Peter Klein, and then became head baker in 2012.


 

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