Commemorating workers whose lives have been lost or injured in the workplace.
The numbers are staggering. In 2011, 919* workplace deaths were recorded in Canada – a decrease from 1,014 the previous year. This represents more than 2.6 deaths every single day.
In the nineteen year period from 1993 to 2011, 17,062* people lost their lives due to work-related causes (an average of 898 deaths per year).
The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, 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 has since spread to about 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade.
The Canadian flag on Parliament Hill will fly at half-mast. Workers will light candles, don ribbons and black armbands and observe moments of silence. Businesses are asked to participate by declaring April 28 a Day of Mourning and to strive to prevent workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries.
CCOHS hopes that the annual observance of this day will strengthen the resolve to establish safe conditions in the workplace for all. It is as much a day to remember the dead as it is a call to protect the living.
*Fatalities accepted in 2011 according to "Number of Fatalities, by Jurisdiction 1993-2011" summary table, statistics from the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada
Annual average according to "Number of Fatalities, by Jurisdiction 1993-2011" summary table, statistics from the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada