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Day of Mourning reminds employers to commit to protecting workers

National day of remembrance takes place every year on April 28
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In 2017, 951 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada — an increase of 46 from the previous year. Shutterstock

This Sunday, April 28, marks the National Day of Mourning. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is encouraging the public to remember those who died, were injured or got sick from their work on this day. It also says that this day has become a time to renew commitment to protecting workers and preventing further workplace tragedies.

In 2017, 951 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada — an increase of 46 from the previous year. Among those dead were 23 young workers aged 15 to 24, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC). Additionally, there were 251,508 accepted claims for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease.

“These statistics only include what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards, and there is no doubt that the total number of workers impacted is even greater,” said CCOHS.

The National Day of Mourning is observed in a variety of ways. Some will attend ceremonies in their communities, light candles, lay wreaths, wear commemorative pins, ribbons or black armbands and pause for a moment of silence at 11 a.m.

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 Day of Mourning has since spread to about 100 countries around the world and is also recognized as Workers’ Memorial Day and as International Workers' Memorial Day by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Visit www.ccohs.ca/events/mourning for free resources to help promote awareness and prevention in the workplace.

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