The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress. The Day of Mourning has since spread to more than 100 countries around the world and has been adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
The numbers tell the story.
The most recent statistics from the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC)* tell us that in 2017, 951 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada, an increase of 46 from the previous year. Among these deaths were 23 young workers aged 15-24.
Add to these fatalities the 251,508 accepted claims (an increase from 241,508 the previous year) for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease, including 31,441 from workers aged 15-24, and the fact that these statistics only include what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards, there is no doubt that the total number of workers impacted is even greater.
And it’s not just these numbers on which we need to reflect. With each worker tragedy there are loved ones, family members, friends and co-workers who are directly affected, left behind, and deeply impacted – their lives also forever changed.
The Canadian flag on Parliament Hill will fly at half-mast. Workers will light candles, don ribbons and black armbands and observe moments of silence.
Please keep our members (past & present) and their families in your thoughts and we ask that you encourage your members to participate at events in your area on April 28-a Day of Mourning and to strive to prevent workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is Canada’s National Resource for the Advancement of Workplace Health and Safety. Please visit https://www.ccohs.ca/ to learn more.
Observance of this day will strengthen the resolve to establish safe conditions in the workplace, and prevent injuries and deaths.
As much as this is a day to remember the dead, it is also a call to protect the living.
Jeffrey T. Norris
Canadian Safety Coordinator
*Statistical information visit the AWCBC National Work Injuries Statistics