Each year, on April 28th, workers and their families come together, on the Day of Mourning, to mourn the workers lost to workplace illness or injury. This year’s theme for the Day of Mourning is: “Know your rights, Use the tools, Defend our wins.” The goal is simple: to support and empower workers to participate in workplace health and safety.
In 2021, 1,081 Canadian workers did not come home at the end of their workday. In 2022, there were 13 workplace deaths in New Brunswick. Thousands of workers also experience workplace injuries and illnesses. In 2021, there were 277,217 accepted lost time claims in Canada. The corresponding number in New Brunswick is 4,235.
“One workplace death is already too many. Workers deserve to arrive home safely at the end of their workday and to live free of workplace injuries,” says Daniel Legere, President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour. “Employers are responsible for upholding health and safety standards in the workplace, including providing the necessary equipment and training. But workers have the right to know about hazards in their work, to participate in decisions that affect their health and safety and to refuse unsafe work.”
The current health and safety measures were won through years of hard work and advocacy. In Canada, employers are responsible to make sure the workplace is safe. That means investing in prevention tools. Unfortunately, some employers have not taken this responsibility seriously enough, putting workers in harms way. Governments and law enforcement have the responsibility of enforcing health and safety requirements and to hold employers accountable when they fail to protect workers.
Workers and unions will continue to fight for better enforcement of existing occupational health and safety laws and the Westray sections of the Criminal Code of Canada. It is important to push employers to invest in prevention tools like empowered, and well-trained health and safety committees.
“I want every worker to know that if they see unsafe work, how to refuse it and how to report it. To use their voice to help prevent unsafe work before someone gets hurt or worse,” says George Nickerson, NBFL Vice-President responsible for workplace health and safety. “I want to conclude by saying that as workers we must also make self care a priority and encourage our employers to value self-care practices in the workplace. This practice will be beneficial for workers’ mental health and workplace productivity as well.”
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For information, please contact:
(506) 381-8969 (cell)
NBFL Vice President responsible for Workplace Health & Safety
In 2023, Day of Mourning events are happening as follows in New Brunswick:
Moncton & District Labour Council
April 28th at 12 noon
Cenotaph in Bore Park, Moncton Riverfront on Main Street Moncton
Contact: Melissa Brown at (506) 872-4643 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Saint John & District Labour Council
April 28 at 12 noon
Frank and Ella Hatheway Labour Exibit Centre
55 Lake Dr. S., Saint John
Contact: Pat Riley at email@example.com
le 28 avril à 12h
Près de l’hôtel de ville sur chemin François
(il y aura une affiche près du monument)
Personne ressource: Lorn Martin à (506) 458-1087
April 28 12 noon
Fredericton Fallen Firefighters Monument, South bank of the Saint John river
Parking available behind the Victoria Health Centre, 65 Brunswick Street
Contact: Tyler McCready at (506) 999-2251.