OHS Canada Magazine

April 28 marks National Day of Mourning

CCOHS urges business to renew commitment to worker safety


April 28, 2021 is the National Day of Mourning and workplaces across Canada will use this day to remember those who have lost their lives or suffered an injury or illness due to their work.

On this day, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is reminding all workplaces that the Day of Mourning is also a day to renew commitment to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all workers, especially those who have been personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditionally, employers, unions and workers have observed the National Day of Mourning by lighting candles, laying wreaths, or wearing commemorative pins, ribbons, or black armbands.

This year, CCOHS encourages everyone to pause for a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m., and in respect of physical distancing measures, consider holding, attending, or supporting a virtual event.

Advertisment

To help workplaces commemorate the day and spread awareness, CCOHS has several resources available that can be used in virtual programs:

  • Listen to CCOHS podcast interviews with Threads of Life speakers to hear how they were personally affected by workplace tragedies.
  • Show your support and help raise awareness of this day by sharing CCOHS’ Day of Mourning social media cards and tagging your posts with #dayofmourning.
  • Download CCOHS’ collection of Day of Mourning posters to promote the significance this day holds.

Information about the National Day of Mourning along with the collection of shareable social media cards, free posters, and podcast episodes can be found on the CCOHS website: www.ccohs.ca/events/mourning.

Day of Mourning facts

  • The most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) tell us that in 2019, 925 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada. This is a small decrease from the previous year; 95 per cent of the fatalities were male workers.
  • The fatalities included 29 young workers aged 15 to 24.
  • There were also 271,806 accepted claims (an increase from 264,438 the previous year) for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease, including 33,615 from workers aged 15-24. As these statistics include only what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards, the total number of workers impacted is likely greater.
  • 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.