MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS AGO the Canadian Labour Congress declared April 28 a National Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed, suffer disease or injury as a result of work. Every year since, unions, labour councils, families and community partners gather by the thousands to ‘mourn for the dead’. What began through the efforts of Canada’s labour movement is now observed in more than 100 countries..
On April 28 honour those who have lost their lives or paid with their health. You can:
- encourage others to attend a Day of Mourning event
- draft a message for your organization’s publication or web site
- work with local media to promote the Day’s significance, write about worker monuments and cover Day of Mourning events
- lobby politicians to recognize the Day through proclamation
- invite faith communities and social justice groups to observe the Day
- convince employers and public institutions to lower flags to half-mast.
The Day of Mourning though, is also intended to focus attention on what we can do to break the silence of indifference and say enough to the suffering caused by hazardous working conditions. On April 28 let’s resolve to action that restores and promotes dignity and health in our workplaces and our communities. On this day and each that follows you can:
- educate others about basic health and safety rights and prevention measures
- help social justice and other groups educate at-risk members of our communities
- negotiate greater decision-making power for worker representatives and joint committees
- make health and safety a collective bargaining priority
- encourage local media to report on health, safety and environmental issues
- encourage MPs and/or MPPs to support ergonomic and violence regulations and stronger enforcement of existing legislation
- create monuments to promote public awareness of workplace health and safety.
The Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) mourns with you on April 28. But what began as Canada’s Day of Mourning has also become an annual day to breathe new life into efforts aimed at securing safer and healthier workplaces.