Theme of 2007 National Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job in Canada
Ottawa (22 April 2007) - 'Safe and Healthy Workplaces for All Workers.'
This is the theme that will dominate scores of ceremonies across Canada when the 2007 National Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job is observed on Saturday, April 28.
The occasion was formally established by an act of Parliament in 1991. It is held every April 28 under the auspices of the three-million-member Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the country's national central labour body.
The Canadian Flag atop the Peace Tower in Ottawa flies at half mast to mark the occasion and a national ceremony of remembrance is held at a CLC memorial in Vincent Massey Park on the shore of the Rideau River.
"We must demand that governments enforce existing laws by providing the necessary tools and resources for this to happen," the CLC says. "Lives are not saved by governments simply adopting legislation. Lives are saved by governments enforcing legislation."
The event was first marked in 1984. Since then, the occasion has been adopted by unions, central labour bodies, labour councils, municipalities and national governments around the world.
The Day of Mourning - or Workers' Memorial Day, as it is called in Europe - is now observed in more than 100 countries and has been endorsed by the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC). Several additional countries are also in the process of following Canada's example.
"We still have workplaces where workers are injured and killed on the job at an increasing rate. This tells us that we must do more to save the lives and livelihood of workers in Canada," the congress says. "On this day we mourn for those who have lost their lives. However, it is increasingly important to continue to fight for the living."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has released a poster to draw attention to the fact that approximately 1,000 Canadians - five each working day of the year - die as a result of work place accidents. Close to one million others are injured.
NUPGE is urging members across the country, and concerned Canadians, to download the poster and place it in workplaces and other public areas to raise awareness of the great cost paid by workers in the performance of their daily duties.
"Work kills," the poster says. "Death on the job continues its relentless rise in Canada. There are now nearly five work-related deaths per workday in Canada." NUPGE