Saturday 28 April 2012 is the National Day of Mourning. Each year, this day has been set aside to honour those workers across Canada whose lives have been lost, injured, disabled or who suffer from occupational diseases because of hazards or incidents in the workplace.
The National Day of Mourning, also known as the Workers’ Memorial day, was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984 and was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991. The Day of Mourning is now recognized in about 80 countries around the world.
The number of deaths in the Canadian workplace each year is astonishing! For the 10 year period of 2000 to 2010 there were 9780 workplace deaths in Canada, including the deaths of 207 Nova Scotia workers during the same period.
Work-related accidents are very expensive. The total of compensation paid to work accident victims, or their families, and of other economic costs of work-related injuries, each year are estimated at more than $12 billion. This figure does not take into account the pain and suffering of the victims and their families, which are incalculable.
The purpose of Day of Mourning is twofold – to remember and honour those lives lost or injured and to renew the commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace – to prevent further deaths, injuries and diseases from work. Typically the Canadian flag on Parliament Hill is flown at half-mast, and workers and employees observe this day in various ways including lighting candles, donning ribbons and black armbands, and observing moments of silence.
Should you wish to honour our fallen workers on April 28, join a Day of Mourning ceremony in a community near you:
Halifax, 11 a.m., Province House, 1726 Hollis St., contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sydney, 11 a.m., Royal Canadian Legion – Branch 128, 850 Victoria Rd., Whitney Pier, contact: 902.562.8604
Kentville, 2 p.m., Kentville Memorial Park, Park St. (Main St.), contact: email@example.com
Bridgewater, 7 p.m., Royal Canadian Legion Hall, 78 Churchill St., contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Hawkesbury, 3 p.m., CEP Union Hall, 323 Reeves St., contact: 902.863.2113
Pictou County, 6 p.m., Trenton Steeltown Park, contact: 902.695.7249
Bathurst – Day of Mourning Monument, Douglas Avenue, April 28, 11 a.m.
Fredericton – Fredericton Fallen Firefighters Memorial, April 28, 12 p.m
Miramichi – Workers’ Monument, Newcastle, April 28, 12 p.m.
Moncton – Bore View Park Cenotaph, April 28, 12 p.m.
Restigouche – Atholville, walk departs from the AV Cell Mill and ends at the town hall, April 29, 1 p.m.
Saint John – Hatheway Labour Exhibit Centre, Lily Lake, April 28, 12 p.m.
Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown – Province House, April 28, 2 p.m.
The National Day of Mourning is as much a day to remember the dead as it is a call to protect the living. Every employer should recognize this day but every employer should also take tangible steps to improve their workplace safety through safety programming, hazard assessment and training. For an assessment of your workplace safety needs please contact: Sylvain Allaire, VP Sales & Marketing, (902) 877-1887 or by email at email@example.com.