With Deepest Respect
(WORKERS’ FORUM) – Today, April 28, is the National Day of Mourning held to commemorate workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace-related hazards and conditions.
In Canada, each year more than 900 workers are killed and over 250,000 claims are filed for lost time injuries/diseases, the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada reports. This year, under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also express our deepest sympathies to the families of those essential workers who have lost their lives while performing their duties without adequate protections, thanks to governments that have given up any pretense of serving the public good.
All accidents can be prevented by making sure the workers are put in charge of the conditions and safety measures they require at work. Furthermore, the Workers’ Compensation systems in every province and Quebec must be made to fulfill their original mandate to properly compensate injured workers and their families.
While this year workers cannot gather in person to mourn for the dead, unions are calling on everyone to show our solidarity with frontline workers and remember fallen workers by lighting a candle in our homes and posting a photo to social media with the hashtag #WorkersDayofMourning and #StopthePandemicAtWork.
Workers have the right to participate in decisions that affect their health and safety. They have the right to refuse work that could endanger their health and safety or that of others. Any attempt to intimidate or criminalize workers for exercising this right should be dealt with severely as should the wilful neglect of workers’ health and safety by governments and employers that is taking place as a result of the anti-social offensive in fields such as health care and education.
On this occasion, we are providing readers with photos of the monuments from across the country dedicated to the memory of workers who lost their lives on the job, to reflect on as they remember them and pay their respects.