HEU recognizes National Day of Mourning

On April 28, HEU is joining with unions across the country to mark Canada’s National Day of Mourning, which remembers and honours workers killed, injured or disabled on the job, and reaffirms our commitment to make our workplaces healthier and safer.

On this day, annual ceremonies throughout the province will honour workers injured or killed on the job and those who have died from work-related incidents or occupational disease.

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 National 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 Unions.

According to WorkSafeBC’s most recent statistics released last year, there were 146,814 workers injured on the job and 203 workers who died because of a workplace incident.

WorkSafeBC also shows that health care still has B.C.’s highest workplace injury rates. In long-term care, it was 9.3 per 100 workers – compared to the B.C. workers’ average injury rate of 2.3 per 100 workers. In acute care, the injury rate was 4.0 per 100 workers. And over the past 10 years in the health care sector, there has been a 70 per cent increase in violence-related claims.

To raise awareness among HEU members and their families about the importance of the National Day of Mourning, the HEU People with disAbilities Standing Committee is holding its fifth annual children’s colouring contest, as part of its Blue Poppy Campaign. Contest details are available on our homepage, under Hot Picks.

In many communities, labour organizations, unions and government agencies hold public ceremonies including speeches, lighting candles, wearing ribbons, laying flowers and wreaths, observing a moment of silence, unveiling monuments, planting trees, releasing balloons, 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.