The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) reminds us that the National Day of Mourning, April 28, is not only a day to remember and honour those lives lost or injured due to a workplace tragedy, but also a day to renew the commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace and prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.
On April 28, Canadian flags on Parliament Hill and in federal government buildings will fly at half-mast to honour the workers whose lives have been lost, who have been injured or disabled on the job, or who suffer from occupational disease. Employers and workers will observe the National Day of Mourning in a variety of ways. Some will attend ceremonies, light candles, lay wreaths, wear commemorative pins, ribbons or black armbands, and pause for a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m.
More information about the National Day of Mourning, including free resources to help promote awareness in the workplace of this important day, can be found on the CCOHS website.
“When we hear news of a worker falling to their death or dying from a work-related cancer – it reminds us that behind every statistic there is a person with a family and coworkers who belongs to a community. The suffering of every work-related tragedy extends beyond the worker and impacts us all. And it is for this very reason that on this national day of remembrance we turn our attention to creating healthier, safer workplaces, and preventing further tragedies. Because one is one too many.”
– Gareth Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
- In 2015, 852 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada – including the deaths of four young workers aged fifteen to nineteen years; and another eleven workers aged twenty to twenty-four years.
- Add to these fatalities the 232,629 claims accepted for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease, including 8,155 from young workers aged fifteen to nineteen, and the fact that these statistics only include what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards, and it is safe to say that the total number of workers impacted is even higher.
- Statistics source: Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC)
- In 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress, the Parliament of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act making April 28 an official Day of Mourning.
- The Day of Mourning has since spread to about 100 countries around the world and is recognized as Workers’ Memorial Day and as International Workers’ Memorial Day by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).