The National Day of Mourning was first declared in 1984 by the Canadian Labour Congress. Every year since, thousands of workers, friends, and families of fallen workers gather at ceremonies across Canada to recognize workers killed or injured on the job. Prevention Link honours and pays respect to the many families and friends who have been affected by these tragedies.
In 2021, according to the most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), 1,081 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada, with the highest rate in Ontario (419). The same year in Ontario, 225,020 claims were registered with Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) with 172,620 claims allowed (both with lost time and no lost time). Sadly, a vast body of research suggests that half of work-related injuries and illnesses are not accurately reported and the numbers are much higher. “Somewhere between 40 and 60 per cent of potentially compensable conditions are typically not reported to provincial compensation authorities in Canada,” said Cameron Mustard, former IWH president and senior scientist.
Behind these numbers are not just individual tragedies but also families, friends, colleagues, and communities whose lives are deeply affected as well and may be changed forever. One workplace death or injury is one too many. Occupational health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, and we must collaboratively strengthen our resolve to ensure every Ontario worker gets home safe.
Prevention Link firmly stands behind our vision of a province where occupational illnesses and injuries are eliminated to enable healthy, safe, and accommodating workplaces for all workers in every workplace and in every community across Ontario.
It is vital for every Ontario worker to know their health and safety rights in the workplace from the first day they start a job. Our Lighthouse Initiative aims to do just that by helping newcomers to Ontario’s workforce, young workers, and long-time workers in any sector learn more about their rights and the laws that guide them as a worker in our province. The Lighthouse Initiative offers critical information in 19 languages, via downloadable information guides – with tips, quizzes, and links – to help guide workers on their rights and obligations in Ontario workplaces.
Prevention Link staff will be commemorating National Day of Mourning events in their communities and in our classrooms. We encourage you to join a Day of Mourning event in your community as well or observe a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. on April 28. A comprehensive list of Ontario-wide events is available on the Workers Health & Safety Centre website. By sharing the messages from the Day of Mourning, you are reminding more people to put health and safety at the forefront of their work and helping to prevent further work-related injuries and loss of life.
Honour the fallen. Make the injured whole. Make work safe.
We renew our pledge to building safer workplaces for all workers.
Day of Mourning resources:
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
- Threads of Life
- Workers Health and Safety Centre
- Worker Memorials in Ontario communities
- Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada
- Workplace Safety Insurance Board