April 28 is a day to mourn workers killed or injured on the job in Canada and in other countries. In 2014 in Canada, 919 workers died on the job and 239,643 claims were accepted for time lost at work due to injury or disease incurred while working, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada.
There are 14 jurisdictions responsible for health and safety in Canada–one federal, ten provincial and three territorial. Each has its own laws on occupational health and safety which govern the rights and responsibilities of employers, supervisors and workers. Each government appoints its own board to oversee the laws and manage compensation packages for work-related death and injury.
Day should promote health and safety, says federal body
The idea for a day of remembrance was launched in 1985 by the Canadian Labour Congress to which most Canadian labour unions are affiliated. Eight years later, the Parliament of Canada passed a law to make it official.
The Day of Mourning is more than a memorial, says the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety—the federal government body. It also should “help strengthen the resolve to establish safe and healthy conditions in the workplace, and prevent further injuries and deaths.”
Memorials will be held in communities across Canada. Flags will fly at half mast over Canada’s Parliament and on all government buildings across the country to mark the Day of Mourning. The day is also observed in about 100 other countries.