April 28 marks national Day of Mourning

·2 min read

In more than 100 countries, including Canada, Apr. 28 is the day set aside to honour and remember workers who have suffered injuries, disabilities, suffer occupational diseases or were killed on the job.

The origins of the day go back almost 100 years, when Ontario first announced the Workers Compensation Act in Canada on Apr. 28, 1914. Later, in 1984, the Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress adopted a resolution declaring the day as a national day of mourning in honour of those workers.

Labour organizations around the world began recognizing the day of mourning, also known as the workers memorial day.

The Canadian labour movement lobbied for legislation to identify April 28 as a National Day of Mourning and in February 1991, the federal government passed the Workers Mourning Day Act, Bill C-223. Similar legislation was passed in New Brunswick in 2000.

Day of Mourning monuments have been erected across Canada, and on Apr. 28 on Parliament Hill, the Canadian flag flies at half-mast. Workers observe the day by lighting candles, wearing ribbons and black armbands and laying wreaths at the foot of monuments.

Many of the monuments carry the inscription “Fight for the Living, Mourn for the Dead”.

It is a day to honour the dead, and a reminder to protect the safety of all workers.

“Mourn for Dead and Fight for the Living is the phrase that has embraced the annual Day of Mourning since its inception over 30 years ago,” said Dave Trumble, vice president of the Grey Bruce Labour Council. “Never forgetting those that died, were injured or made ill for a paycheque is an eternal sign of respect. Rededicating ourselves to stop workplace carnage is how we honour those that have gone before us and how we say to those yet to come that work is not a place where you will suffer or die to support your family and yourself.”

According to 2018 statistics, 1,027 people died of work-related causes in 2018 in Canada. That’s nearly three people every day. (source: Ontario Health and Safety Magazine Canada)

In Ontario, according to WSIB , the Ministry of Labour and the Chief Prevention Office, 190 people died from a work-related injury or illness in Ontario in 2019. (source: wsibstatistics.ca)

Trumble estimates there are approximately 300,000 injuries reported annually in Ontario and “any injury or fatality is one too many.”

Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent