Every year on April 28th, Canada observes the Day of Mourning to remember and honour workers who have lost their lives, been injured, or suffered illnesses due to workplace-related incidents. This day serves as a solemn reminder of the importance of ensuring the health and safety of all workers, and a call to action to continue working towards creating safer workplaces across the country.
Canada’s Day of Mourning originated in 1984, when the Canadian Labour Congress declared April 28th as a day to honour workers who had died or suffered injuries in the workplace. The Canadian government officially recognized the Day of Mourning in 1991 and has since commemorated this day every year.
The Day of Mourning serves as an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the impact that workplace incidents have on families, communities, and society as a whole. It’s also a time to renew our commitment to preventing workplace incidents and to ensure that every worker returns home safe at the end of each day.
In Canada, thousands of workers are injured or die on the job every year. According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), in 2021 alone, there were 1,081 workplace fatalities recorded in Canada. Among these deaths were 18 young workers aged 15-24.
These statistics are alarming, and it’s important to recognize that each of these numbers represents a person whose life was cut short simply by going to work.
In the same year, AWBC also accepted a staggering 277,217 work-related injury claims – an increase of 23,820 from 2020.
This year, as we honour Canada’s Day of Mourning, it’s crucial to remember that workplace incidents are preventable. Employers, workers, and governments must work together to create safer workplaces and ensure that workers have the knowledge and tools they need to work safely. This includes implementing proper safe work practices and procedures, administering adequate training, and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers. It is also important to encourage workers to speak up about any potential hazards in the workplace.
On this Day of Mourning, let’s take a moment to remember those who have lost their lives or suffered injuries in the workplace. Let’s also renew our commitment to creating safer workplaces and to ensure that every worker returns home safely at the end of each day. By working together, we can prevent workplace incidents and honour the memory of those who have been impacted by them.
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