Canada Declares April 28 a National Day of Mourning

Canada has singled out April 28 to offer employees and employers the opportunity to remember the dead, injured and ill, and publicly renew their commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace.

Some 800 employees die in Canada each year from workplace accidents, and another 800,000 are injured.

Beyond the human toll, the financial impact is substantial. The government estimates that some 16 million days of work are lost each year - the equivalent of the average annual work of 67,000 people - due to workplace illnesses, injuries and fatalities. The full cost per year to the Canadian economy from occupational injuries is more than $9 billion.

Making workplaces safer is a daily effort for many people. But April 28 has been singled out to offer employees and employers the opportunity to remember the dead, injured and ill, as well as publicly renew their commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace.

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 about 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade.

The Canadian flag on Parliament Hill will fly at half-mast. Workers will light candles, wear ribbons and black armbands and observe moments of silence. Businesses are asked to participate by declaring April 28 a Day of Mourning and to strive to prevent workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries.

For more information on workplace hazards, contact the Inquiries Service at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety in Hamilton, Ontario, at 1-800-263-8466; by fax: (905) 572-4500; or submit an inquiry form at www.ccohs.ca/ccohs/inquiries/inquiries_form.html.

For further statistical information, visit www.clc-ctc.ca/health-safety/mourning.html.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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