Canada’s National Day of Mourning

National Day of Mourning

The most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) tell us that in 2014, 919 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada – more than 2.5 deaths every single day. Among the 919 dead were thirteen young workers aged fifteen to nineteen years; and another twenty-five workers aged twenty to twenty-four years.

Add to these fatalities the 239,643 claims accepted for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease. Including 7,998 from young workers aged fifteen to nineteen, and the fact that these statistics only include what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards, and the situation is even direr.

What these numbers don’t show is just how many people are directly affected by these workplace tragedies. Each worker death impacts the loved ones, families, friends and coworkers they leave behind, changing all of their lives forever.

Every April 28, workers gather to mourn and remember those who were injured or killed on the job, and to fight so that everyone can go home “alive after five” — or whatever hour their shift ends.

The national day of mourning grew from CUPE in 1984 to other labour unions in 1985 and was federally recognized with the 
Mourning Day Act in 1991.

Yellow & black, the colours of caution, and the canary, the bird of warning from the early days of coal mining, are frequently used to mark the Day of Mourning.
For more background and information check:
·         Day of Mourning event website:
·         Day of Mourning – Canadian Labour Congress
·         Day of Mourning – BC Federation of Labour (includes event listings)