VANCOUVER – Government and construction industry officials will observe B.C.’s annual Day of Mourning at more than 35 official ceremonies around the province to remember workers killed or severely injured on the job.
In downtown Vancouver, unions, employers, labour officials and government officials will gather at Jack Poole Plaza on April 28 where they will hear from injured workers and the families of workplace incident victims.
Representatives from the B.C. Federation of Labour, Business Council of British Columbia, Vancouver & District Labour Council and WorkSafeBC will host the Vancouver event.
Speakers will include Sadaf Abdul, whose father, Abdul Salam Rahimi, died in 2010 while painting the ceiling of a downtown Vancouver building. Rahimi fell 40 feet from scaffolding, suffering a fatal head injury. Abdul was 14 at the time of the incident.
“My father, my best friend, was leaving me even though he promised to be by my side always,” said Abdul, in a press release. “I had to say goodbye to him, goodbye forever. It was so hard, knowing that I would never see him, hug him and hold him ever again.”
Attendees will also hear from Minister of Labour Harry Bains, WorkSafeBC Interim President Brian Erickson, B.C. Federation of Labour President Laird Cronk and others. Following the ceremony, attendees will observe a moment of silence. A piper and honour-guard will then march to the Line of Work memorial, honouring workers throughout B.C.’s history.
Last year, 131 people died due to work-related issues in B.C. – 66 from occupational diseases and 65 resulting from traumatic injuries.
Canada became the first country to officially honour fallen workers in 1985 when the Canadian Labour Congress held the first National Day of Mourning ceremony. In 1991 the federal government passed the Workers Mourning Act, and the following year British Columbia proclaimed April 28 the Day of Mourning. Day of Mourning ceremonies are recognized in 100 countries.
For a comprehensive list of ceremonies taking place in the province between April 26 and 28, visit dayofmourning.bc.ca.