April 28, 2020

April 28, Day of Mourning

Mourn for the Dead --
Fight for the Living!

With Deepest Respect

Today, April 28, is the National Day of Mourning held to commemorate workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace-related hazards and conditions. In Canada, each year more than 900 workers are killed and over 250,000 claims are filed for lost time injuries/diseases, the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada reports. This year, under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also express our deepest sympathies to the families of those essential workers who have lost their lives while performing their duties without adequate protections, thanks to governments that have given up any pretense of serving the public good.

All accidents can be prevented by making sure the workers are put in charge of the conditions and safety measures they require at work. Furthermore, the Workers' Compensation systems in every province and Quebec must be made to fulfill their original mandate to properly compensate injured workers and their families.

While this year workers cannot gather in person to mourn for the dead, unions are calling on everyone to show our solidarity with frontline workers and remember fallen workers by lighting a candle in our homes and posting a photo to social media with the hashtag #WorkersDayofMourning and #StopthePandemicAtWork.

Workers have the right to participate in decisions that affect their health and safety. They have the right to refuse work that could endanger their health and safety or that of others. Any attempt to intimidate or criminalize workers for exercising this right should be dealt with severely as should the wilful neglect of workers' health and safety by governments and employers that is taking place as a result of the anti-social offensive in fields such as health care and education.

On this occasion, we are providing readers with photos of the monuments from across the country dedicated to the memory of workers who lost their lives on the job, to reflect on as they remember them and pay their respects.

L to R: Escuminac, New Brunswick Fishermen's Monument; Lunenburg, Nova Scotia monument to workers lost at sea.

L to R: Bathurst, New Brunswick monument to forestry, mining and smelting workers; New Waterford, Nova Scotia monument to Bill Davis, shot during a protest by striking miners; New Brunswick coal miners' memorial.

L to R: St. John, New Brunswick Day of Mourning monument; Pictou, Nova Scotia monument to those killed in the Westray mine disaster.

Memorial in Kahnawà:ke to workers who died in the 1907 collapse of the Quebec Bridge.

Monument in Buckingham, Quebec to forestry workers shot in fight to unionize Maclaren mills.

L to R: monument in Valleyfield, Quebec to Irish workers killed striking for better working conditions during construction of Beauharnois Canal; Heron Road workers memorial bridge in Ottawa honours workers who died when the bridge collapsed; Ottawa monument to workers who died constructing the Rideau Canal.

L to R: Sudbury Miners Memorial; detail from Sudbury memorial; Sudbury mural dedicated to workers killed in 1929 Falconbridge disaster.

L to R: Kirkland Lake, Ontario miners' monument; Blind River, Ontario loggers' memorial; Port Elgin, Ontario autoworkers' monument.

Elliot Lake, Ontario miners' memorial.

L to R: Toronto memorial to workers killed in Hoggs Hollow disaster; Toronto
memorial plaque to nurses who died on the job during the 2003 SARS epidemic.

L to R: Monument to Chinese railway workers in Toronto; Memorial quilt for young workers killed on the job; Italian workers' memorial Woodbridge, Ontario. 

L to R: Hamilton April 28 Day of Mourning monument; Windsor Day of Mourning monument; Welland Canal Workers' Memorial.

L to R: gravestone of one the workers shot to death during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike; Edmonton Day of Mourning workers' memorial; Calgary railway workers' memorial.

L to R: Gravestones of coalminers in Estevan, Saskatchewan killed defending workers' right to organize; Mine worker organizer and war resister, Ginger Goodwin's grave in Cumberland, BC; Vancouver memorial to nineteen ironworkers killed in 1958 when a section of the Second Narrows bridge collapsed during construction.

L to R: Net and Needle fishermen's memorial in Steveston, BC; Lake Cowichan, BC forestry workers' memorial park; monument in Ladysmith, BC to Joseph Mairs, who died during the fight to organize Vancouver Island coal mines.

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