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. This annual event was initiated by the labour movement 36 years ago to increase awareness of on-the-job injuries and fatal workplace accidents. This day of remembrance was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, six years after it was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in 1985.
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 in order to improve workers’ safety.
This year, the way we live and work changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, millions of workers in Canada have had to stay home, while others have to continue working, facing contamination and adapting to major changes to stay safe, often relying on hard-to-find personal protective equipment. In these unprecedented times, workers of various essential services as well as the postal service, put their health and safety at risk on a daily basis to help flatten the curve and shield the public from the virus and its deadly consequences.
On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, wherever we are, let us take a few minutes to remember those who lost their lives, suffered injury 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.