Last year was a tough year as we suffered the tragic loss of Brother Dimitrios Bakirtzis on November 8, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec and Sister Melissa Heins on December 22, 2017 in Melville, Saskatchewan, both sustained fatal injuries as a result of workplace accidents.
In Canada, each year over 900 workers are killed and over 240,000 claims are filed for lost time injuries/diseases according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada. All accidents are preventable and the TCRC is committed to advocating for improved safety to put an end to these senseless tragedies.
The National Day of Mourning commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents. In 1985, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) declared April 28th as an annual day of remembrance and in December 1990, parliament passed the Workers Mourning Day Act proclaiming April 28th an official Workers’ Mourning Day.
Since its inception, the observance has spread to over 80 countries around the world, but is known in most other countries as the Workers’ Memorial Day. In 2001, the International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, observed this date as World Day for Safety and Health at Work. April 28th was chosen because on that date in 1914 the first Workers Compensation Act in Canada became law.
The Canadian flag on Parliament Hill will be flown at half-mast and workers around the country will observe this day by lighting candles, donning ribbons and black armbands, and observing moments of silence. We will be requesting that the carriers acknowledge the Day of Mourning by issuing a bulletin and providing our members the opportunity to observe a moment of silence where operational duties allow. Please encourage your members that are not working to attend one of the many ceremonies taking place across the country; you can contact your local labour council for details. We have provided your division with a supply of lapel pins with our logo wrapped in a black ribbon and we ask you share these with your members at your division meeting to wear as a symbol of remembrance and as a personal commitment to health and safety.
Don Ashley National
National Executive Board
Provincial Legislative Chairs