OHS Canada Magazine

‘Carrying the weight of a loved one’s absence’: Trudeau marks National Day of Mourning

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April 28, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety National Day of Mourning Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with trade workers in Guelph, Ont., on March 17, 2023. Photo: Adam Scotti/PMO

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paused today to mark the National Day of Mourning that remembers Canadians who have been killed or injured on the job.

“Our thoughts go to those who live with the trauma of these tragedies, including the families carrying the weight of a loved one’s absence,” said Trudeau.

Federal Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr. said that, in 2021, more than 1,100 Canadians died on the job — including 18 people under the age of 24. More than 275,000 were injured.

O’Regan Jr. also turned the attention outside of Canada’s borders, commenting on the 10th anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh.

“On April 24, 2013, an eight-story garment factory crumbled to the ground. Over 1,300 people died, the vast majority of whom were workers on the job. Canada’s supply chains reach far and wide, and we have a responsibility to all the workers across it.” he said.


Trudeau said the federal government has stepped up to improve workplace safety standards and practices, including modernizing its compliance and enforcement regime under the Canada Labour Code, which protects federally regulated workers.

“These changes are helping to ensure there are strong consequences for employers who violate workplace safety standards and put hardworking Canadians in harm’s way,” said Trudeau.

He pointed to a recently announced investment in helping mining operator BHP improve workplace safety as it developed a potash mine in Saskatchewan.

“Canadian workers drive our economy. They are helping to attract historic investments and strengthening Canada’s position as a global leader across a range of industries, including critical minerals and electric vehicle manufacturing,” said Trudeau. “As the federal government invests to support projects and create new opportunities across the country, we are making sure the safety of workers is a top priority, including for those who work in particularly difficult conditions.”

Ottawa also continues to support the work of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) to “end work-related illnesses and injuries through a range of accessible safety services and resources for workers and employers alike, and to combat workplace harassment and violence. We have also made 10 days of paid sick leave a reality in all federally regulated private sector workplaces — because no one should have to choose between staying home when they are sick or paying their bills.”

“On this sombre day, I invite all Canadians to join me in honouring the workers who lost their lives or have been injured on the job, and keeping their loved ones in our thoughts. As we mourn, we recommit to creating healthier workplaces where everyone can feel safe to go to work.”


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