April 28 is the National Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job. The Teamsters Union across Canada were represented by Sister Kim Wild Lewis, a long-standing member of Local Union 91 at a ceremony held at Vincent Massey Park in Ottawa. Her husband was killed on the job and she has become an advocate for raising awareness on this key issue. Many unions and families were represented at the ceremony which serves to reaffirm that no job is worth the price of a worker’s life. The death of workers destroys families and is often simply related to workplace negligence. While there have been changes in the Criminal Code of Canada, a recent decision fined a company $110,000.00 for their role in the death of a worker. Life goes on for the company however, what about the family and friends left behind; no amount of money nor justice can completely compensate for the loss. Together we must work to enforce our rights and ensure no worker dies or is injured on the job. For the approximately one thousand people that will die on the job this year – the number being based on past statistics – we must continue with determined resolve and reflect on our past. Next April 28 encourage your employer to lower the flag to half mast.

Ken Georgetti from the Canadian Labour Congress, Robert Blakely from the Canadian Building Trades, Jean-Pierre Blackburn the Federal Minister of Labour, and Jack Layton the Leader of Canada’s NDP Party all spoke at the ceremony.

Brian MacDonald
Teamsters Local Union 91