Day of Mourning: PSAC renews commitment to safe conditions in the workplace

On the National Day of Mourning, the Public Service Alliance of Canada pays homage to all workers injured on the job and who have lost their lives due to unsafe and dangerous working conditions.

We honour workers like brother Peter Kennedy, who died soon after the 2009 boiler explosion at a Public Works heating plant, and brother Howard Willems, who passed away in 2012 through exposure to asbestos on the job. Brother Willems successfully lobbied for the introduction of legislation requiring all buildings in Saskatchewan containing asbestos to be reported in a public registry.

Troubling statistics by Labour Canada (2008 to 2012)

  • On average in Canada, over a 1,000 workers die every year because of their work
  • In the federal jurisdiction, 50 workers die every year
  • Just for the federal public service, 5 workers die every year because of their work

Injuries on the job: the numbers are staggering

  • Close to a million workers are injured at work every year
  • In the federal jurisdiction, 20,000 workers are injured every year
  • In the federal public service, almost 3,000 are injured every year

Workers’ compensation boards

We know that at least half of all occupational injuries go unreported to workers’ compensation boards because some injured workers are pressured by their employer not to file for workers’ compensation benefits.

Public Service Employee Survey

The 2014 Public Service Employee Survey continues to raise major concerns about the continuing problems of harassment and poor mental health in the public service. The federal government and all employers must create and maintain both a physically and psychologically safe workplace.

  • One in every five workers reported that they had been the victim of harassment at work
  • One in every five workers are unclear or believe they do not have the information, training and equipment to ensure their health and safety at work

Call to action

On this National day of Mourning, the PSAC recommits to action. We demand: 

  • that all levels of government do more to enforce existing health and safety laws and vigorously prosecute violations when a worker is killed or seriously injured.
  • that employers respect the health and safety protections in the law and our collective agreements.