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 2014, according to Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards statistics, 909 Canadian workers died from workplace accidents or diseases. In Ontario there were 289 deaths (up from 266 in 2013). Unfortunately, the true statistics are much higher. These numbers include only those whose claims are recognized by the WSIB, and those whose industry, occupation and type of injury/disease are covered (in Ontario only 71.7%). And, as recently highlighted by the OFL, changes in the method of reporting also have underestimated actual fatalities.
See a list of 2016 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
- 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 [includes 2004-2014 statistics]
- CUPE Ontario. 2015. National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed and Injured on the Job.
- Ontario. Ministry of Labour. 2015 Nov. Statistics 2005-2014 (injury, illness & fatality statistics reported to the MOL and WSIB)
- Workers’ Health & Safety Centre. 2015. We Remember – A Day of Mourning Message (WHSC resources include an annual list of events and Worker Memorials in Ontario communities
- 28april.org – International Workers’ Memorial Day
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. National Day of Mourning – April 28