The National Day of Mourning was established in Canada at the urging of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984, and is now recognized in over 80 countries around the world. The 28th of April is the day that workers and unions mourn for the dead and fight for the living. On this day, we find inspiration to redouble our efforts to keep workers both safe and healthy.
Unfortunately, the annual observance of this day has not made Canada safer for workers. Over the past decades, successive governments have pledged their support to workers and their unions. They have announced new workplace health and safety laws and regulations — some of the best in the world. Regrettably, the resources needed to enforce those laws have not always been provided.
Canada’s workplaces have been claiming a growing number of lives every year because our health and safety laws have not been enforced. The number of fatalities is staggering, but there is opportunity for action. Special prosecutors have been appointed in Nova Scotia and in Manitoba, while in Ontario and Québec, criminal charges have been laid, hopefully putting an end to reckless employers carrying on without consequences. We need more prosecutions to send a message.
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