Today, the Canadian flag will fly at half-mast on Parliament Hill and on all federal government buildings. This, the 34th National Day of Mourning, originally known as Workers’ Memorial Day was started in Sudbury, Ontario in 1984; and is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related tragedy.
This is particularly important this year as many workers who have been termed ‘essential’ risk themselves and their families to provide during the COVID-19 pandemic.
François Laporte, President Teamsters Canada, wrote, “Every year in Canada, over 900 people die on the job over 250,000 claims are filed for time lost due to workplace-related injuries and illnesses. Close to half of all fatalities occurred the transportation, construction and manufacturing industries. These numbers obviously cannot take into account all the workplace injuries and illnesses which are never reported.
Beyond the statistics and the individual lives lost, we must never forget that these tragedies affect scores of family members, friends and co-workers.
Many people are still unaware of the significance of April 28. I invite everyone to raise awareness about the National Day of Mourning by sharing this post, wearing a black ribbon, lighting a candle or attending a virtual Day of Mourning ceremony.
But most importantly, you can honour the memory of those we lost by fighting for the safety of the living. That means getting involved in health and safety committees, focusing on prevention, and never being afraid to speak up when you see something dangerous at work.
All accidents are preventable, and our union will always be there for those who stick up for safety.”
This year in respect of COVID-19 restrictions, organizations, communities, and individuals are asked to pause for a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. today.