The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is working hard to ensure that domestic violence is recognized as a workplace issue, to ensure that employers live up to their obligations, and to break the barriers of silence and isolation that come with domestic violence.
Ottawa (25 April 2019) —Held annually in Canada on April 28, the National Day of Mourning is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related tragedy.
According to the most recent statistics from the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), and published on the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) website, in 2017, there were 951 workplace fatalities in Canada, an increase of 46 from 2016. Among these deaths, there were 23 young workers aged 15–24.
In addition to these workplace deaths, there were 251,508 accepted claims (an increase of 10,000 from the previous year) for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease, including 31,441 from workers aged 15–24. These statistics only include what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards, so according to the CCOHS, “there is no doubt that the total number of workers impacted is even greater.” Furthermore, it’s not just these workplace deaths on which we need to reflect. “With each worker tragedy there are loved ones, family members, friends and co-workers who are directly affected, left behind, and deeply impacted — their lives also forever changed.”
National Day of Mourning
The National Day of Mourning is a day to remember and honour those lives lost or injured due to a workplace tragedy. It is also a day to collectively renew our commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace, and to prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.
On April 28, the Canadian flag will fly at half-mast on Parliament Hill and on all federal government buildings. Employers and workers will observe the Day of Mourning in a variety of ways. Some light candles, lay wreaths, wear commemorative pins, ribbons or black armbands, and pause for a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m.
Recognize domestic violence as a workplace hazard: NUPGE
One of the Issues many unions are working on is to draw a connection between how violence and harassment at work and domestic violence impact work. The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is working hard to ensure that domestic violence is recognized as a workplace issue, to ensure that employers live up to their obligations, and to break the barriers of silence and isolation that come with domestic violence.
Canada has strong violence prevention regulations that were developed by unions, employers and the federal government working together in a tripartite process. Federal Bill C-65, which became law in October 2018, finally recognized sexual harassment and sexual violence as workplace hazards.
However, workers are also calling for new measures to
- make it safe for workers to report harassment and violence by implementing anti-reprisal measures, including whistleblower protection;
- ensure federal health and safety officers can be as effective as possible by hiring more officers and ensuring they receive the robust training they need;
- and finally, to recognize domestic violence as a workplace hazard (Canadian Labour Congress. This will raise awareness around the need for employers to conduct workplace risk assessments, training and safety planning, and to ensure supports are in place for workers experiencing domestic violence.
List of observances across Canada
To find Day of Mourning events happening in your community, visit the CLC website.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE