April 26, 2016 - 12:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - April 28 marks the 25th anniversary since the federal government formally recognized of the National Day of Mourning, originally launched by the Canadian Labour Congress.
Every year, labour councils and WorkSafe provincial divisions across Canada have marked the day with ceremonies of remembrance for those who have been killed, injured, or suffered serious health consequences because of workplace-related hazards and incidents.
In B.C., there were 122 work related deaths in 2015, three of which occurred in the Thompson Nicola Region, and 72 were the result of occupational disease. On average, 1,000 Canadian workers are killed on the job every year. Hundreds of thousands more are injured, and countless thousands become permanently disabled or die from work-related diseases.
“Honouring these individuals not only demonstrates our respect and support for affected workers and their families,” says Kamloops and District Labour Council event organizer, Jim Waldie, “But is also a vital means of creating public awareness of workplace hazards and toxins. It helps us to reinforce our ongoing commitment to fighting for safer workplaces and demanding that negligent employers are held accountable.”
Unions have already made a difference over the past year by reducing the hazards people face when working in confined spaces and helping to make the workplaces of Canadians (not just union members) much safer and healthier.
Through labour organizations have also fostered workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, with changes to provincial laws moving forward in Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. Recognizing that not all injuries are physical, unions are also taking on the stigma of mental illness and factoring it into what makes a workplace healthy and safe.
This year, Canadian unions are calling on the federal government for a comprehensive national ban on asbestos. More than 2,000 Canadians die every year from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Asbestos exposure is the number one cause of occupational death in Canada, and since 1996, asbestos-related diseases have accounted for about a third of the workplace deaths recognized by workers’ compensation boards.
Kamloops Day of Mourning ceremony
The Kamloops and District Labour Council will host a Day of Mourning ceremony.
On April 28, 2016, (6 p.m.) at St. Andrew’s on the Square and invites everyone to attend. The event will include guest speakers, a sidewalk march to lay the wreath, lighting of memorial candles, and music provided by Gail Ovington (piano), Jake Dogteron (trumpet), and Lorne Bailey (bagpipes).
Workers are also encouraged to observe a moment of silence and fly flags at halfmast at their worksites on April 28.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016