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National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job

April 28, 2012 marks the 28th anniversary of Canada’s National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job. The day is observed around the world and is officially recognized in Canada by an Act of Parliament. Accordingly, our national flag on Parliament Hill and on all federal government buildings is flown at half-mast on this day every year.

The Institute invites all members to take a moment to remember those who lost their lives on the job over the past year.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Nova Scotia Westray mine disaster, where an underground methane explosion took the lives of 26 workers. Since then, the labour movement worked for parliament to pass legislation, the so-called Westray bill, which amended the Criminal Code of Canada in order to hold employers, who failed to take steps to protect the lives of their employees, criminally liable. The Westray bill provided a new regime outlining the framework of corporate liability in Canada.

In the nine years since the Westray bill amendments and corporate manslaughter law came into effect, only two provinces have laid charges under the criminal code.

According to the Canadian Labour Congress, 1,014 people lost their lives in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

It’s important to remember that Canada still has one of the highest rates of workplace deaths in the industrialized world, and even one death is still one too many.

Nothing can bring back those who have died, but a message has to be sent that cutting corners on health and safety and employees being killed is not acceptable.

Today should not be the day another worker dies at work.

Day of Mourning Statement (view the Poster).

Publish Date: 26-APR-2012 03:44 PM