Friday, April 29, 2016


Local News

In Honour of Workers

City lowers flag to half mast on National Day of Mourning

Staff/Voice photo


ity of Chilliwack staff held a minute of silence and the city flag remained at half mast for the day as depicted in this photo taken today in honour of workers hurt or killed on the job on National Day of Mourning.


The following report contains quotes from various individuals and agencies across the country.


"In 2015, there were 122 work-related deaths in B.C. Of those, 72 were due to occupational disease, mainly from exposure to asbestos decades ago and 50 resulted from traumatic injury including nine from motor vehicle incidents." said Worksafe BC on Thursday.


On April 28th - the National Day of Mourning - We Remember

In 2015, 226 died from incidents on the job or work-related illnesses in Ontario

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Ontario



or the second consecutive year, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) commemorated the National Day of Mourning with a public ceremony this morning. Families, workers, employers and WSIB staff, gathered to honour those who have died, been injured or suffered illness in the workplace.

Speakers included the Honourable Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, Elizabeth Witmer, WSIB Chair and Johanna LeRoux, mother of Micheal Fisher who was killed at work in 2006 when he was 22 years old.

"Every day, the WSIB is here to support those whose lives have been forever changed by workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses," said Elizabeth Witmer, WSIB Chair. "But on April 28th, we make a special effort to remember and honour all of those affected. The Day of Mourning also reminds all of us of the continued need to demonstrate our commitment to the promotion of healthy and safe workplaces, where every worker comes home safely at the end of the day."

Last year in Ontario, 226 people were killed at work or died from an occupational disease. To emphasize the importance of the Day of Mourning with all Ontarians, the WSIB ran a four week public Awareness Campaign this year. The campaign featured a special Day of Mourning video (available at and utilized a range of channels to ensure the message reached as many people as possible.

As visual tributes to the Day of Mourning, the 3D TORONTO sign in Nathan Phillips Square and the CN Tower will be lit in yellow, traditionally a colour of hope, throughout the day and this evening. Numerous events to mark the day are also being held in communities across the province and the country.

April 28 was chosen as the date for the National Day of Mourning in 1984, when the Canadian Labour Congress proclaimed the Day to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the day the first Ontario Workers' Compensation Act was approved by the government. The Day of Mourning was enshrined in national legislation by an Act of Parliament on February 1, 1991.


Getting Home Safe at the End of the Day

'Much work to be done'

Employment and Social Development Canada, Quebec/MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour


ATINEAU, QC, April 28, 2016 - Canadians come together each year on this day to pay tribute to family, friends and colleagues who have been killed or injured, or have suffered illness due to a work-related incident. We offer my sincere condolences on behalf of the Government of Canada to all who have been affected by these tragedies and to those whose lives have been altered following an incident at work.

While it is difficult to believe, on average, almost three workers across Canada die every day as a result of workplace incidents. Every year, thousands more suffer injury or illness because of their working conditions. Every workplace injury or death is one too many.

These tragedies remind us that there is still much work to be done in the field of workplace health and safety in Canada. They also reaffirm the need for government, employers, unions and employees to work together to ensure all workers return home in good health at the end of the day.

Together we can build a culture of health and safety at workplaces across Canada. Better health and safety happens through diligent, deliberate actions supported by workers and employers.

Today, we lower our flags to honour our loved ones. At 11:00 a.m., please take a moment of silence to reflect on those we have lost, as well as the thousands of Canadians currently living with the outcome of a workplace accident.

They will never be forgotten.


Associated Links

National Day of Mourning           
Workplace health and safety         
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety


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Ceremonies Across BC Remember Workers

'In a split second, everything changes'

WorkSafe BC/Website photo John Beckett, WorkSafeBC Director


RICHMOND, BC, April 28, 2016 - Today, thousands of workers, families, employers and union members are remembering those who lost their lives on the job with ceremonies across British Columbia. In 2015, there were 122 work-related deaths in B.C. Of those, 72 were due to occupational disease, mainly from exposure to asbestos decades ago and 50 resulted from traumatic injury including nine from motor vehicle incidents (MVIs).

Gerry Salmon, a WorkSafeBC Prevention Officer died in a Motor Vehicle Incident in 1982 on his way to present a safety talk in Creston B.C.

His daughter, Mary-Jaye Salmon, a current WorkSafeBC Prevention Officer, will recount her family's story at today's commemorative ceremony at Jack Poole Plaza jointly hosted by the BC Federation of Labour, the Business Council of British Columbia and WorkSafeBC.

"I know first-hand what it feels like to get that knock on the door, and to be given the worst imaginable news. Since becoming a WorkSafeBC officer I've dealt with 13 fatalities and each one took me back to my loss. In a split second, everything changes," said Mary-Jaye Salmon, daughter of fatally injured worker Gerry Salmon.

In 2015, the highest numbers of work-related deaths by industry sector were in construction (29), manufacturing (27), service (18), primary resources sectors (16) and transportation and related industries (13). Work-related deaths from occupational disease increased from 38 percent of all deaths in 2006 to 59 percent in 2015; while traumatic injury deaths decreased from 62 percent of all work-related deaths in 2006 to 41 percent in 2015. No young workers died in B.C. last year, but in the four years previous to that, 16 young people died from their work.

"Work-related traumatic deaths have been on the decline in our province and in our country, and we have a provincial injury rate at the historic low of 2.23. But one death is one too many. Today, occupational disease remains the single leading cause of work-related deaths. We can and must do everything we can to prevent traumatic and occupational disease fatalities from happening today and into the future," John Beckett, Chair, WorkSafeBC Board of Directors.

"We pause on the national Day of Mourning to honour those whose lives were tragically cut short or changed forever by injury in the workplace. No words can adequately capture the impact of this kind of loss on families, co-workers and communities. We must all work together to build a culture of safety that makes workplace tragedies a thing of the past, and ensure everyone goes home to their families safely at the end of the work day," Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour.

Matthew Bowcott, seriously injured at work in his late teens, is also speaking at the Vancouver ceremony. A dramatic new video depicting the workplace incident that changed his life will be launched today in more than 100 high schools across the province as part of the B.C. Day of Mourning Schools Project, which is a joint partnership of the B.C. Labour Heritage Centre, the B.C. Federation of Labour, the B.C. Teachers' Federation and WorkSafeBC. "The Matthew Bowcott Story" video is available here.

The work-related death rate in 2015 for all deaths has decreased by more than 40 percent when compared with the rate of all work-related deaths in 1996 in B.C.

About WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors that serves 2.3 million workers and more than 225,000 employers. WorkSafeBC was born from the historic compromise between B.C.'s workers and employers in 1917 where workers gave up the right to sue their employers and fellow workers for injuries on the job in return for a no-fault insurance program fully paid for by employers. WorkSafeBC is committed to safe and healthy workplaces and to providing return-to-work rehabilitation and legislated compensation benefits.


Asbestos the Number One Workplace Killer

Society calls for total ban on asbestos

Canadian Cancer Society

TORONTO, April 28, 2016 - Every year on April 28, Canada's National Day of Mourning, Canadians remember the thousands of workers who have been killed or injured, or suffered illness as a result of work-related incidents. At the Canadian Cancer Society we turn our thoughts especially to those who have been affected by asbestos in the workplace.

Asbestos is the leading cause of workplace death in Canada, and the Society has called on the federal government to adopt a nationwide ban on all asbestos products to protect Canadians from asbestos-related cancers.

"All forms of asbestos cause cancer," says Gabriel Miller, director of policy and public issues at the Canadian Cancer Society. "There's no known safe level of exposure to asbestos, so why are Canadians, particularly those who work in industries like construction and automotive repair, still being exposed?"

Canada continues to use asbestos and asbestos products in brake pads and panels, tiles and pipes used in construction. Although the overall use of asbestos has decreased in recent decades, it can still be found in many older buildings.

"The use of asbestos in Canada has left a terrible legacy. Moving forward and banning asbestos will start to prevent cancers in the future," says Dr Paul Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre Steering Committee.

Asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma, and it also causes lung, laryngeal and ovarian cancers. Since 2012 the Canadian Cancer Society has been funding the Burden of Occupational Cancer in Canada project, led by Dr Demers. Early results from this study show that each year in Canada approximately 1,900 lung cancers and 430 mesotheliomas are related to asbestos exposure at work. In addition to cancer, exposure to asbestos can cause asbestosis, a severe and debilitating condition that damages lung tissue.

"Canada needs to follow the lead of 50 other countries around the world and ban the import, export, use and manufacture of asbestos and asbestos products," says Miller.

Unfortunately, asbestos is already built into many homes, offices and public buildings as a result of past use. Its complete removal will take many years, emphasizing the need for building registries and other policies to make homes and workplaces safer for Canadians.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. For more information, visit or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

Learn more about national Day of Mourning on Wikipedia here.


Building a 'Culture of Safety'

Support for families, friends and colleagues vital says Bond

Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond/Website photo

ICTORIA, April 28, 2016 - "Today, in British Columbia, we pause on the national Day of Mourning to honour those whose lives were tragically cut short or changed forever by injury in the workplace.

"We remember and recognize them because they are our friends, our mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters and sons – those who we will always hold near and dear to our hearts.

“We also gather to support the families, friends and colleagues whose lives have been permanently changed. No words can adequately capture the impact of this kind of loss on families, co-workers and communities. To the families, we want you to know we honour your loved ones. They are not forgotten.

“We have made improvements to ensure safety in workplaces throughout British Columbia, but even one life lost or one serious injury is one too many.

“Every employer and every British Columbian must remain vigilant to ensure worker safety is always the first thing we think about on a worksite," said Bond.

“We have a responsibility, not only to educate ourselves, but to those around us. We need to raise safety awareness amongst our youngest workers to help prevent tragic incidents from occurring in the future."

“If we work together, we can make a difference in our workplaces and in our communities. So let us renew our commitment to each other today on this day of remembrance."

“We must all work together to build a culture of safety that makes workplace tragedies a thing of the past and ensure everyone goes home to their families safely at the end of every work day.”


NDP Want All Flags Lowered

Legislation to commemorate lost workers

Marielle Tounsi, BC NDP Gov't Caucus/Website photo MLA Shane Simpson


ICTORIA, April 28, 2016 - New Democrat MLA, Shane Simpson, introduced legislation today to proclaim a provincial Day of Mourning for workers who have died or been seriously injured because of their work. 


“April 28 is the internationally-recognized Day of Mourning,” said Simpson. “This legislation would see flags lowered on public buildings across this province in recognition of workers who have died.


“In many jurisdictions they lower their flags on April 28, and we even do it at the legislature,” said Simpson. “What’s disappointing is that the Christy Clark government refuses to commit to formalize this recognition in B.C. by passing this bill.”


Each week in B.C., roughly four workers lose their lives and over 100 sustain permanent injuries from accidents and disease suffered on the job and that are often preventable.


“Many of us have colleagues, friends and loved ones whose lives were cut short or forever marked by workplace accidents or disease,” said New Democrats leader, John Horgan. “It is my sincere wish to say: I wish none of us had to suffer these tragedies.”


“The Day of Mourning is a time to remember the dead, but it’s also a call to protect the living,” said Horgan. “New Democrats are honouring the Day of Mourning by reaffirming our commitment to prevent future workplace fatalities, life-altering injuries and occupational disease.”


Here is a link to the Workers Day of Mourning Act - 2016




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