April 28 is the National Day of Mourning, to honour those workers across the country whose lives have been lost, or affected by workplace injuries, disabilities or disease.
“This day is important to all working Canadians. It’s our opportunity to raise awareness of health and safety and the importance of creating a culture of prevention in the workplace so that we can avoid injuries and illnesses,” says Steve Horvath, President and CEO at Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). “April 28 is a day to pause, reflect and renew our commitment to health and safety and prevention right across Canada.
The National Day of Mourning was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress. The Day of Mourning, also known as Workers Memorial Day, has since spread to about 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO, the International Confederation of Free Trade, and the International Labour Organization.
In 2012, 977 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada — an increase from 919 the previous year. This represents more than 2.7 deaths every single day. In the 20 year period from 1993 to 2012, 18,039 people lost their lives due to work-related causes (an average of 902 deaths per year).