HAMILTON, ONT. — The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, is a day to remember and honour those who have lost their lives or suffered an injury or illness due to a workplace tragedy.
It’s also a day to renew the commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace with a focus on prevention, states the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).
“It is the hope of CCOHS that the annual observance of this day will help strengthen the resolve to establish safe and healthy conditions in the workplace and prevent further injuries and deaths,” states the centre’s website. “As much as this is a day to remember the dead, it is also a call to protect the living and make work a place to thrive.”
The Canadian flag will fly at half-mast on Parliament Hill and on all federal government buildings and employers and workers will observe the Day of Mourning in a variety of ways, including a moment of silence at 11 a.m.
The most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada show in 2016, 905 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada, its website indicates. Among those deaths were six young workers aged 15 to 19 and another 20 workers aged 20 to 24.
In 1991, eight years after the Day of Remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress, the Parliament of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act making April 28 an official Day of Mourning.
The event has since spread to about 100 countries around the world and is recognized as Workers’ Memorial Day and as International Workers’ Memorial Day by the International Labour Organisation and the International Trade Union Confederation.