Toronto – April 25, 2017– Each year on April 28, Canadians from across the country gather to light candles, wear ribbons, and remember the thousands of workers who have been killed, injured, or made ill as a result of work-related incidents.
The National Day of Mourning was first recognized over 25 years ago to honour the families, colleagues, and friends whose lives have been significantly impacted by workplace tragedies.
Statistics show that in 2015, over 850 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada, and 232,629 workers suffered an injury or illness requiring lost time.
Thankfully, Canadian unions recently achieved a major victory in the fight to ensure safer workplaces by pressuring the federal government to implement a full ban on asbestos, as well as new codes and regulations, by 2018. Asbestos is one of the leading causes of mesothelioma and lung cancer, which together claim the lives of over 2,000 Canadians every year.
April 28 therefore not only serves as an opportunity to honour workers who were taken from us too soon, but also provides a chance to renew our commitment to improving workplace health and safety standards in Canada, with the goal of preventing further injuries, illnesses, and deaths.
To commemorate the National Day of Mourning, UFCW Canada has produced a special poster that is available for download in both English and French. The poster can be downloaded here.
As well, we encourage you to attend Day of Mourning events in your community, and you can check with your local labour council for locations and times.
On the National Day of Mourning, let us remember those who have been injured or killed on the job, and keep them in our thoughts. Let us honour their memory and never forget the importance of ensuring worker safety, day-in and day-out.
Paul R. Meinema