The Kingston and District Labour Council is marking the Day of Mourning with a ceremony and lunch at noon on Wednesday, April 28 at the Steelworkers’ Hall on Sutherland Drive at Montreal Street.
Over the past 25 years, successive governments have pledged their support to workers and their unions by putting into place workplace health and safety laws and regulations – some of the best in the world. Unfortunately, they have failed to provide the resources needed to enforce those new laws.
The number of Canadians who die every year because of something that happened to them at work has been steadily growing. We know that hundreds more deaths occur due to exposures to carcinogens and toxins in the workplace, but they are never identified or accepted a work-related by Workers’ Safety and Insurance Boards.
The slogan for the CLC National Day of Mourning, “is today the day you die at work?” asks why so many Canadians unjustly lose their lives at work.
Sadly, for 2008, the most recent year for which we have statistics, 1,036 Canadians lost their lives because of their work. Laws are not enforced, so reckless employers are allowed to carry on with little or no consequences.
It’s time for the governments of the country, provinces and territories to appoint special prosecutors to lay charges under the Criminal Code against employers when their actions cause death or serious injury. More inspectors must be hired to ensure employers comply with the law. Government regulators must be held accountable to this carnage that seems to go unchecked.
As we take time on April 28th to remember those who have been killed, injured or made sick by their work, reflect upon more than the importance of health and safety – think of yose who are closest to you, your child, your spouse, your sibling, your parent, your best friend. Consider the role they play in your life and then imagine if that was lost. Every single one of the 1,036 lives that ended in 2008 had dreams, had a mom and had people who loved them. And who continue to love and miss them.