April 28 is a National Day of Mourning that commemorates workers who are killed or injured on the job each year, or who die from work-related diseases. This day provides us the opportunity to remember these workers in public events. However, the Day of Mourning is also a time to insist that all levels of government must take an active role in enforcing existing health and safety laws and by doing so, prosecute violations when a worker is killed or seriously injured.
We can be proud of the work done by Unions, as such, Union workplaces are proven to be safer than others and we are working to make employers accountable. Unions fought to get changes to the Criminal Code of Canada so that negligent corporations who kill are held liable (The Westray law). Many politicians who claim to be ‘tough on crime’ are soft on having criminally negligent corporations held responsible for the injuries and death of their workers. It is high time for governments to live up to their responsibility to ensure safer workplaces.
Every year in Canada, there are almost 1,000 people killed because of their work and that is too many. We must redouble our efforts to protect the health and safety of all workers.
On behalf of PSAC Atlantic, I would personally like to thank all PSAC members who take an active role on their local health and safety committees and ensuring that their Sisters and Brothers have a healthy and safe workplace.
PSAC REVP, Atlantic Region