On April 28 we gather to remember workers killed, suffer disease or injury on the job in Canada. First held in 1984 by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), it was adopted officially by the Canadian Labour Congress.
In Dec. 1990 the Federal Government passed the Workers Mourning Day Act declaring April 28 a national Day of Mourning. The Day has since been adopted – often known as Workers Memorial Day – by approximately 100 countries around the world.
In 2015, according to Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards statistics, 852 Canadian workers died from workplace accidents or diseases (281 in Ontario). Unfortunately, the true numbers are much higher. These statistics include only those whose claims are accepted that year as fatality by the Boards, and those whose industry, occupation and type of injury/disease are covered (in Ontario only 71.7%). Many deaths from occupational exposures, especially diseases with long latency periods such as mesothelioma, go under-recognized and underestimated. As recently highlighted by the OFL, changes in the method of reporting also have underestimated actual fatalities.
See a list of 2017 Day of Mourning events to be held across the province on April 28.
It is a day when workers not only commemorate those who have died, but also strengthen the commitment to health and safety protection and coverage for all workers. This message is carried in the inscription on many of the labour monuments marking April 28: “Fight for the Living, Mourn for the Dead”.
Woodbridge Day of Mourning ceremony 2015
- Selected media coverage of Ontario Day of Mourning events
- Ontario. Ministry of Labour. 2017 Mar. Occupational Health & Safety Report: Appendix A: Statistical Charts (2006-2015)
- Workers’ Health & Safety Centre. 2017. Day of Mourning ( include an annual list of provincial events and Worker Memorials in Ontario communities
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. National Day of Mourning – April 28
- 28april.org – International Workers’ Memorial Day
- Page, Peter. 2015 Summer. “The Big Book of Injured Workers: a Diary”. Our Times (An injured worker’s personal account of the Woodbridge Day of Mourning event)
- Ontario Federation of Labour. 2015. OFL Demands to Know Why the WSIB is Covering Up 1,150 Deaths