Laval, April 27, 2015 – Tomorrow is the National Day of Mourning for the workers killed or injured on the job.
With the help of its members, shop stewards, union representatives, the local unions of the Teamsters Union continues to ensure – and improve – occupational health and safety.
The fact is that 900 Canadians died on the job in 2013 alone. These unsettling statistics hide a worrisome fact: the actual number of work-related deaths is difficult to determine because workers die each year from unreported accidents.
Plus, who doesn’t know a friend, a family member or a co-worker who couldn’t afford to take time off to recover from an injury? And that’s not counting the temporary foreign workers who get injured on the job and choose to keep it quiet.
The upcoming fall elections will be an opportunity for Teamsters Canada to remind all MPs and the next federal government that occupational health and safety laws must be applied, including the Criminal Code, if need be.
“Regardless of whether they’re unionized, workers must be able to work in a safe and healthy environment,” explains Teamsters Canada President François Laporte. “The consequences of occupational illnesses, injuries and deaths are immense.”
Mental health: another major issue
Mental health rarely comes up in discussions about occupational injuries or deaths but is, in fact, a serious issue.
Teamsters Local Union 362 has come up with an initiative to raise awareness on this very topic. The campaign seeks to mobilize public figures, decision makers and politicians to make mental health support mandatory in all workplaces.
Research shows that mental health indirectly affects all Canadians at some time, through a family member, a friend or a colleague.
According to Statistics Canada, it is estimated that presenteeism costs Canadian businesses between $15 billion and $25 billion a year. Presenteeism occurs when employees are physically present, but due to an unaddressed physical or emotional issue, are distracted to the point of reduced productivity.
“One out of five Canadians will experience a mental health problem during their lifetime,” says François Laporte. “I think we should all be able to talk about this openly without fear of reprisal or judgment from our employers.”
But for that to happen, we need federal, provincial and territorial laws to allow people struggling with mental health issues to get the help and rest they need to get better.”
The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
Stéphane Lacroix, Communications Department
Cell: 514 609-5101
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