On Friday we’ll commemorate the National Day of Mourning. Held annually in Canada on April 28, it’s an occasion to pay tribute to those who died or who were injured on the job. It’s also a day to remind ourselves of the importance of health and safety at work.
The latest numbers show that 852 people in Canada died in the workplace in 2015, fifteen of whom were aged between 15 and 24 years old. That’s on top of hundreds of thousands of workplace injuries, occupational illnesses, and incidents that aren’t even reported.
Finally, we can’t forget about all the parents, friends, co-workers and countless others who are impacted when someone they know falls victim to a workplace accident.
So in the spirit of solidarity, here are four ways you can commemorate the National Day of Mourning.
- Pause for a minute of silence at 11:00 a.m. on April 28
In some workplaces, everyone stops at 11:00 a.m. on April 28 to observe a minute of silence in remembrance of those we lost.
- Wear dark clothing, a black ribbon or a commemorative pin
Many show up to work on April 28 wearing black to honour those who passed. Others simply wear a black ribbon or a combative pin.
- Take part in a commemoration ceremony or lay a wreath
Commemoration ceremonies will take place across Canada on the morning of the National Day of Mourning. If you can make it to one of the ceremonies, you can also lay a wreath at one of the monuments dedicated to workers.
- Renew your commitment to prevention
Renewing your commitment to prevention means learning more about health and safety, including new issues like mental health in the workplace. Teamsters Canada launched MakeItMandatory.ca in 2015, which features videos on the topic and a call to make mental health support mandatory in workplaces.