April 28 is the National Day of Mourning to remember and honour workers who have been killed, injured or have contracted illnesses related to workplace hazards.
The purpose of the day is to continue to raise awareness about workplace safety and continue to fight for workers. Every month in Canada workers are killed or injured on the job. Since 1979, when the deaths of workers started to be recorded by the Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, 10,384 workers have been killed in Ontario alone. Every year across Canada, more than 1,000 of workers die on the job. The number of workplace related injuries and illnesses are commonly underreported but total is in the hundreds of thousands – and rising.
The slogan typically associated with the National Day of Mourning is Fight for the Living, Remember the Dead.
The first Day of Mourning was recognized in Canada by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in 1984. In 1985 it was embraced by the Canadian Labour Congress as an annual day of remembrance. April 28 was chosen as the designated day because it marked the third reading of the Workers’ Compensation Act in 1914. The day became a national event in 1991 after the Workers’ Mourning Day Act was passed. It is now observed in more than 100 countries around the world.