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Ottawa – April 21, 2021 – This year, the National Day of Mourning – April 28 takes on a whole new meaning, with many of us knowing a co-worker, friend, or family member who has been personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of the restrictions on public gatherings, for this April 28, activists are instead encouraged to pause for a moment of silence at 11 a.m., to pay our respects and remember all workers who have been killed, injured, or suffered illness because of work-related incidents — while also recognizing the sacrifices of frontline and essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why is April 28 a Day of Mourning?
For decades, each year on April 28, people across the country have gathered to light candles and wear ribbons as they pay their respects and remember the thousands of men and women who have been killed, injured, or suffered illness as a result of work-related incidents. The day also honours the families, coworkers, and friends whose lives have been significantly impacted by these tragedies. In 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress, the Parliament of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act , making April 28 an official Day of Mourning.
How do unions improve workplace health and safety?
Unions stand up for the health and safety of everyone who works for a living. We work with employers to improve working conditions. Unions work with governments to improve workplace health and safety standards and pass laws to punish employers who put lives at risk for their own gain. We can’t bring back those who have died, but we are working hard to make workplaces safer for today. By working together – with employers, unions, workers, and our health and safety partners, we can work towards every worker returning home at the end of the day safe and sound.
UFCW Canada encourages every worker to make workplace health and safety a personal priority and help spread the word that workers have the right to refuse unsafe work.
On April 28, let us remember those who have been injured or killed on the job, and keep them in our thoughts. Let us honour the memory of those killed or injured on the job, and never forget the importance of our commitment to keep workers safe.
To commemorate the National Day of Mourning, UFCW Canada has developed a Day of Mourning poster available for download in both English and French. Additional posters, guides and information can be found in the Health and Safety section of our website.
For additional information on the Day of Mourning in your province, please also see the links below:
British Columbia - www.dayofmourning.bc.ca
Alberta – Alberta Federation of Labour
Saskatchewan - WorkSafe Saskatchewan
Manitoba - Manitoba Federation of Labour
Ontario – Workers Health and Safety Centre
Quebec – www.jourdedeuil.com
Nova Scotia – www.dayofmourning.ns.ca
Prince Edward Island – Workers’ Compensation Board of PEI
New Brunswick - WorkSafeBC
Newfoundland and Labrador – Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour