OTTAWA — The executive director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions, Sean Strickland, has issued a statement for Canada’s Day of Mourning urging workers and employers in the construction sector to “reflect upon our collective purpose, remember, acknowledge and offer our deepest gratitude to those who have been injured, fallen ill or lost their life while at work.”
The 2023 Day of Mourning is today (April 28).
“Canada’s Building Trades Unions stand in solidarity with workers across the country to recognize the National Day of Mourning, a day to remember workers who have died or been injured in workplace accidents or due to occupational disease,” stated Strickland. “Advocating for higher health and safety standards for our members and for all construction workers has always and will always be a priority for the Building Trades including focusing on prevention so that every worker goes home to their family at the end of the day.”
Statistics indicate 1,081 workers were killed in workplace incidents in 2021. This represents a 16-per-cent increase from the 2020 total of 924 deaths and was over the yearly average of 945 since 2009, representing almost five workplace deaths every working day.
Also up were workplace injuries at 277,225 in 2021, from 253,397 the previous year, representing a nine-per-cent increase.
A 2021 study by the Institute for Work and Health found lost-time-injury claims to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board are 31-per-cent lower on unionized building trade construction jobs than they are in a non-union environment.
“Unfortunately, despite our advances and utilization of best practices, when taken as a whole, union and non-union construction is the fourth highest occupation group for workplace fatalities at 20.2 deaths per 100,000 workers,” stated Strickland.
“One injured worker is one too many.”