OHS Canada Magazine

Workplace safety is a ‘fundamental right’: Alberta MLA

May 2, 2024
By George Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Macleod Gazette
Health & Safety

Punching the clock shouldn’t earn you a ticket to the hereafter, the official opposition’s labour critic told the Alberta legislature April 25.

Speaking a few days before Canada’s 2024 National Day of Mourning, Peggy Wright urged her colleagues to remember those who went to work but never made it home.

“They worked hard supporting themselves, their families and their communities,” said Wright, the member for Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview. “We must remember them and honour them.”

Now acknowledged in more than 100 countries around the world, the label was first conceived by the Canadian Labour Congress. Eight years later in 1991, it received federal recognition when Parliament passed the Workers Mourning Day Act.

Workplace fatalities in Canada totaled 993 in 2022, says information collected by the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada. Among those who died were 33 workers aged 15-24.


Last year in this province 165 persons died unnecessarily on the job, says the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta.

The day also honours many others who technically did make it home – but nonetheless suffered fatal or debilitating illness or injury because of their jobs.

“We know that so many injuries and occupational illnesses are preventable, and that’s why safe workplaces are not a luxury and they are not red tape. They are a fundamental right. We have a collective responsibility to do better for today’s workers,” said Wright.

“We mourn for the dead, fight for the living.”


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