Most of us are familiar with November 11 as Remembrance Day, a time in which Canadians honour the men and women who courageously gave their lives defending our country.
But not so many of us know that April 28 is the National Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed or injured on the job.
Even fewer of us realize how important such a day is. Sadly, an average of one in every 15 Canadians is injured at work each year. This works out to about one injury every nine seconds. What?s more, approximately 800 Canadians die each year from work-related circumstance; that?s over two deaths per day.
Concerned with this tragic reality, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) took the initiative in 1984 by declaring an annual day of remembrance for workers killed or injured on the job. According to the CLC, the goal of this day is to ?publicly renew our commitment to fight for the living as well as to mourn for the dead.?
April 28 was chosen because on this day in Ontario in 1914, the third reading of Canada?s first comprehensive Worker?s Compensation Act took place. Later, in 1991, the Canadian Parliament approved a private bill to establish the Workers? Mourning Day Act.
The Day of Mourning is a Canadian initiative that is now commemorated in more than 70 countries worldwide. The AFL-CIO, the main labor organization in the U.S., has also adopted April 28 as a Day of Mourning.
In 1996, the International Confederation of Free Trade also organized the first International Day of Mourning.