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.
The latest statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), which take into account only approved compensation claims, show workplace deaths are increasing across Canada, with 951 reported fatalities in 2017 (up from 904 in 2016 and 852 in 2015). Ontario Ministry of Labour statistics record 81 deaths in 2017 from workplace injury. Unfortunately, as a recently released study indicated, the true numbers of job-related fatalities are dramatically underreported and fail to reflect thousands of deaths — such as workers exempt from coverage, stress-induced suicides, commuting fatalities and occupational disease.
2019 Day of Mourning will be commemorated on Sunday 28th or Monday 29th around the province [see event listing (produced annually by Workers’ Health & Safety Centre) ]
It is a day when workers commemorate those who have died – and recognize the lasting impact on their families and communities. Day of Mourning also strengthens their 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”.
ONIWG VP Peter Page speaks at Woodbridge Day of Mourning 2017
- Bittle, Steven, Ashley Chen & Jasmine Hébert. 2018. “Work-Related Deaths in Canada.” Labour/Le Travail 82: 159-187
- Workers’ Health & Safety Centre. 2018 Apr. Beyond WSIB Statistics: A More Accurate Picture of Work-related Injuries, Illnesses and Deaths in Ontario.
- Ontario. Ministry of Labour. 2018 Mar. Occupational Health & Safety in Ontario Annual Report: Appendix A: Statistical Charts (2008-2017)
- Wigmore, Dorothy. 2017 Apr. 28. “The History Behind Canada’s National Day of Mourning.” RankandFile.ca
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. National Day of Mourning – April 28
- 28april.org: Remember the dead, Fight Like Hell for the Living – 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