The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job. It was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, more than eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress to raise awareness of on-the-job injuries and fatal workplace accidents.
While the National Day of Mourning is now recognized in over 100 countries, including Canada, and is observed each year, there is still a lot of work to accomplish to improve workers’ safety. A number of Canadian legislative provisions dealing with occupational health and safety are deemed exemplary internationally, but most Canadian governments have not provided the necessary resources to ensure they are applied.
At Canada Post, we’ve mourned the loss of workers. We’ve had to go through the grief and pain associated with the death of a sister or brother. At this year’s April 28th ceremony, we heard the heartfelt appeal of a father imploring the authorities and governments to shed light on his son’s tragic death on the job, so the real culprits can be punished. Our thoughts are with the victims’ loved ones, who will experience this grief and pain for the rest of their lives.
On April 28, 2016, unions called for a national ban on asbestos, which has been recognized as the cause of illnesses, suffering and deaths, which could be prevented.
On April 28, we took the time to remember those who lost their lives, suffered injuries or became disabled on the job. We must all commit to continuing the struggle to force employers and governments to fulfill their obligation to make every workplace a safe and healthy one. We must also continue seeking stronger health and safety standards and protection, and better enforcement in our workplaces.