HEU marks National Day of Mourning on April 28

When a worker is killed, injured or disabled on the job, the tragic impact is felt in workplaces, families and communities.

On April 28, HEU will join unions across Canada and around the world to mark National Day of Mourning. Gatherings and ceremonies held across the province honour workers who have died or been injured, and renew our commitment to hold employers accountable for ensuring safe and healthy workplaces.

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 has now spread to about 100 countries around the world.

B.C. saw 145,803 workers injured on the job, 2,970 occupational disease claims, and 122 workers lose their lives because of a workplace incident, according to WorkSafeBC’s most recent stats report for 2015.

“As we toured the province preparing for bargaining, we heard several stories from members about the often dangerous conditions they work in,” said HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside. “Community workers, for example, too often work alone. They go into people’s homes without prior risk assessments. And there are members who have been assaulted.”

In many communities, labour organizations, unions and government agencies hold public ceremonies that include speeches, lighting candles, wearing ribbons, laying flowers and wreaths, observing a moment of silence, unveiling monuments, planting trees, releasing balloons, and laying out empty shoes or hard hats to symbolize those who have died at work.

For events in your community, check with your local labour council or visit the B.C. Federation of Labour’s website.