Worker dies every 15 seconds on this International Day of Mourning
April 28th is the International Day of Mourning, which is observed to honour and remember workers who died due to workplace accidents, injuries and diseases. In the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Day of Mourning is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by workers and their families as we strive towards safer workplaces and better working conditions.
What is the history of the Day of Mourning?
The Day of Mourning was first introduced as a resolution by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) at the 1984 convention of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The CLC adopted the resolution and officially declared April 28, 1985 as the National Day of Mourning.
In 1988, the Ontario government recognized April 28th as the Province’s day of mourning. In 1990, the Canadian Parliament passed Bill C-223, the Workers Mourning Day Act, marking April 28, 1991, as the first national Day of Mourning. This made Canada the first country in the world to mark a National Day of Mourning for workers who died in the course of their employment.
Outside of Canada, in 1989, the American Federation of Labour recognized April 28th as Workers’ Memorial Day. The labour movement in the United Kingdom recognized the day starting in 1992. In 1996, the International Labour Organization and the International Trade Union Congress declared April 28th as the International Day of Mourning, with the motto “Mourn for the dead and fight for the living”.
Today, the International Day of Mourning is observed in nearly 100 countries around the world.
Why April 28th was selected as the Day of Mourning?
April 28th was fittingly chosen as the National Day of Mourning in recognition of the proclamation of the Ontario Workers’ Compensation Act on April 28, 1914.
What does the data show?
According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Board of Canada (AWCB) there are approximately 250,000 claims each year for workplace injuries/diseases with nearly 1000 reported deaths annually. [Source: AWCB Canada]