Observed annually on April 28th, the National Day of Mourning commemorates workers who have been injured, killed or suffer illness as a result of occupational accidents and hazards.
This day of observance was instituted upon the passing into legislation of the Workers Mourning Day Act in December 1990. Since that time, various events are organized each year by labour organizations across the country to express remembrance for the family, friends and colleagues who have suffered in carrying out workplace duties.
Since the first National Day of Mourning, there have been many improvements made to occupational health and safety legislation. However, the statistics show that there is more work to be done.
Over 900 Canadians died in 2011 as a result of work-related causes. This means that on average, almost 3 workers were killed every day. Approximately 250,000 work-related injuries and illnesses were reported in 2011.
In addition to the human suffering caused by workplace accidents, the economic costs are excessive. The total of compensation paid out to victims, and other related costs, is estimated to be over $8 billion each year.
The National Day of Mourning focuses our attention on these tragic statistics and reminds us that there is more work to be done in the area of workplace health and safety.
The Government of Canada is committed to continually improving the work environment of Canadians, and responding to the ever changing needs of Canadian workers.
Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for Labour have pledged to work together towards fostering safe and healthy workplaces.
For more information on prevention of workplace accidents please consult the following publications: