On June 1st every year, injured workers and labour activists gather outside the Legislative Assembly at Queen’s Park in Toronto and in cities across the province to mark Injured Workers’ Day. We rally on this day to celebrate the gains made through united action, raise current concerns – and remind governments we cannot be ignored.
Why June 1st? The history
The day commemorates June 1st 1983 when over three thousand injured workers forced a government committee looking at major changes Ontario’s workers’ compensation system to conduct a public hearing on the steps of the Legislature.
Pressure by the Association of Injured Workers’ Groups (AIWG) had made the the Standing Committee eventually agree to set aside a day of hearings for injured workers to voice their concerns about the Weiler proposals, which included replacing the permanent disability pension with a wage loss system. They came in numbers too large for the Committee rooms, so at the suggestion of the AIWG the hearings were held outside on the lawns of the legislature.
The solidarity and activism of the injured worker movement during the 1983 June 1st event drew public and media attention to their objections to the government’s process of reform.
- Mantis, Steve. 2023 Jun 1. Injured Workers Day, 40 Years Later. CBC, Up North with Jonathan Pinto (radio interview)
- ONIWG. 2023 May 31. Injured and Ill Workers Hold a Media Conference with Allies
- Noiles, Willy (ONIWG). 2017 May 30. “June 1st is Injured Workers’ Day.” Rank and File.ca
- Bedard, Ella. 2015 Jun 1. “Injured Workers’ Day: Support Shouldn’t Come in Half-measures.” Rabble.ca
- Schwartz, Kristin. 2009. “The long road to justice: Ontario’s injured workers and Injured Workers Day.” Our Times
- Injured Workers’ History Project. 2006. Injured Workers’ Day. Toronto: Bancroft Institute (IWHP bulletin, no. 1)
- Union of Injured Workers. 1985 May/Jun. “Now is the time!” Injured Workers Voice