30 Seconds: National Day of Mourning in Canada
The statistics are startling and disturbing. According to the latest information from 2019, in Canada alone, there were a total of 925 work-related fatalities; that is approximately 3 lives each and every day. That same year, there were 271,806 time loss claims for work-related injury or disease recorded, an increase of 20,000 claims over 2017, suggesting that an acceptable Workers’ Compensation claim occurs every 30 seconds in our country. At this point, essentially every Canadian has been touched by workplace accidents or incidents either directly or by association.
Last year, in Alberta, there were 178 deaths that resulted from workplace injuries or illnesses, that’s a work-related fatality every other day.
The impact of work-related injuries and occupational diseases can be devastating, not only to the worker but to their families as well. The struggle to put lives back together and figure out how to cope and carry on following a death or life-altering injury or illness is enormous, despite the assistance and support that is provided by workers’ compensation boards across the country, provincial health care systems and other government programs. The fallout and lingering effects from these incidents continue long after the crises are over and the headlines have been forgotten.
The Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support, known as Threads of Life, is a Canadian registered charity founded in 2003 dedicated to supporting families after a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease. Born out of a project called The Young Workers Life Quilt, which honoured young workers who lost their lives on the job and brought together their families in a community of support, Threads of Life continues as a network of family members and corporate partners that believe that workplace accidents, injuries and deaths are preventable.
April 28th marks The National Day of Mourning in Canada. A day of remembrance, officially recognized by the Canadian government in 1991. The intention of the day is twofold, a time to honour and remember workers who lost their lives or were injured on the job and to renew a commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace.
Since its inception, The Day of Mourning has spread to nearly 100 countries and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO(American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations) and the International Confederation of Free Trade.
Although we will never be able to prevent or avoid fatal or serious injury accidents entirely, we work to minimize the number and the impact through continued education, awareness and attention. On April 28th, the Canadian Flag will fly at half-staff on Parliament Hill, workers around the country will light candles, wear black armbands and ribbons and observe a moment of silence. How will you remember?
You can find out more about The National Day of Mourning and how you can participate at the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, Threads of Life or at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) or at the WCB Alberta.
If you are looking for ways to improve the Health & Safety Management Program at your workplace, you can contact us directly at [email protected], [email protected], by phone at 1-844-377-9545 or you can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
BCL would like to honour the following lives lost too soon and extend our heartfelt sympathies to their families and friends.