April 28 is the Day of Mourning for Workers Injured and Killed on the Job. Union's have struggled for decades to make workplaces safer but much more needs to be done!
Ottawa (27 April 2015) — As the Day of Mourning for Workers Injured and Killed on the Job approaches the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) reminds Canadians that they must continue to mourn for the dead and fight for the living.
Unions matter in the fight for safe workplaces
Canada's union movement has fought, since its very beginnings, to make workplaces safe for everyone.
"The labour movement has made considerable gains in making people safer at work," said James Clancy, NUPGE National President. "But thousands continue to die or suffer injury from accidents on the job or from work-related diseases."
"The National Union pledges to continue the fight until every workplace is a safe workplace."
The statistics on workplace deaths and injury are shocking. In 2012, 979 Canadians died because of their work. However, the number is likely much higher because official figures reflect only those who received workers’ compensation benefits.
"We know that many more workers die from those illnesses and occupational diseases that are not recognized by the compensation systems," said Clancy.
Employers need to be held accountable
Unfortunately, many corporations that have had workers killed on the job have faced little public, political or legal scrutiny.
"For some reason police will investigate and lay charges related to homicides, but different rules seem to apply to workplace fatalities," explained Clancy. "This is intolerable! Employers must not be allowed to permit unsafe workplaces. Those workplaces that result in a death or injury must be investigated and employers held accountable."
"And governments must similarly be pushed to implement, monitor and enforce legislation that protects workers on the job. Once again, governments that claim to be tough on crime will ignore a corporate offender."
Mourn the dead and fight for the living
"April 28th reminds us to mourn those who have died while on the job. I have met far too many families that have lost a loved one due to a workplace fatality or are dealing with a serious injury," explained Clancy.
"But it also reminds us to continue the fight until every workplace is a safe one!"
The National Day of Mourning was established by Parliament in 1991. It is observed every April 28 in scores of ceremonies across the country.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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