April 25, 2021 - No.
Day of Mourning -- April 28
Fight for Lives Is the Fight for Rights!
Beyond the Statistics
Day of Mourning -- April 28
The National Day of
Mourning is held every
year to commemorate workers who have been killed on the job and demand
that those who have been injured or suffer illness due to
workplace-related hazards and conditions get compensation and
treatment as befits a human person at standards agreed upon by the
year, it is being marked in very difficult conditions. The difficulties
facing the working people are not just because of the COVID-19
pandemic and its increased spread as a result of more virulent
variants. The difficulties caused by the pandemic are made all the more
serious because of the irresponsibility of governments who do not
hold big business interests or themselves responsible for safety
measures, especially at the places of work.
front of action in the past year has been holding big
employers to account, including when they are the governments
themselves, for not adequately protecting workers. In this regard, one
aspect that is of particular concern and deserves attention is the
mental health problems that have become acute as a result of everyone
to fend for themselves and work out on their own what's what and what
to do or not to do. Abuse has also increased tremendously, especially
against women, minority, Indigenous and migrant workers. When
they are abused, as when injured workers and retired workers are
abused, all workers are abused.
There can be no security when everyone's lives depend
on the mercy of governments who do not represent their interests and
they are not permitted to organize and speak effectively in their own
cater to the interests of big business and even enrich them while
others suffer. This has been revealed time and again in the past year
as a result of their response to the pandemic and the pandemic
conditions themselves. Workers keep producing and delivering goods and
services and must be compensated as a right when
they fall ill or have to work extended hours or irregular shifts or
require child care or help with the care of a family member. The
violation of collective agreements and all kinds of abuses are taking
place, backed by laws which claim such abuses are warranted. Workers
are defamed as troublemakers and criminalized for standing up for
rights. It is unconscionable to accuse workers of being selfish,
especially as it comes from those who enjoy positions of privilege and
power and do not live the same lives as those who bear the brunt of
Governments are also using the
urgency of the moment to dismantle
existing occupational health and safety regimes. They have concentrated
into the hands of government ministers more arbitrary police powers to
make and break regulations and rule by degree. The ensuing incoherence
and crisis of confidence in government causes widespread insecurity
and harm to the mental health of the population and to the fabric of
the society itself. The extensive neo-liberal restructuring of the
state is being carried out under the hoax of necessity to deal with the
extraordinary circumstances, whether responding to COVID-19 or
re-starting the economy. The aim of the rich and their governments is
not to protect
the population but to concentrate more power in their own hands under
the wretched belief that this enhances their competitive edge. All
of it further disempowers the workers and people who have no say in the
decisions which affect their lives.
April 28, let us go all out to find ways to affirm and express the
right of all Canadian working people to healthy and safe working
conditions, to adequate compensation as a matter of right when they are
injured or made ill, and to the right to themselves collectively
establish working conditions that are safe, for their own sake and for
the sake of the society.
do its part by publishing your interviews and
contributions on this important fight for the rights and the lives of
all right through to May Day 2021 when the workers of all lands will
highlight the significance of the fights they are waging. Let us all
speak out about our concerns, our working conditions and what we are
striving for. This is a time when less than 30 per cent of workers are
organized into trade unions in Quebec and less than 25 per cent in
Canada as a whole. Furthermore, the degeneration of political parties
into a mafia cartel party system also keeps the workers disempowered.
response must be to affirm the right to speak about matters of concern
and make working conditions a matter of public knowledge. Informing
workers of what is going on in sectors other than their own will help
to mobilize and discuss where the fight for rights is
headed. Together it is possible to assess the conditions and the
work being done to change the situation in a manner which favours
the country, workers and their families are going through a
difficult time. Their fight is a practical fight to resolve the crisis
in favour of the working people not the rich. On this occasion, the
Workers' Centre of CPC(M-L) joins the workers across the land to mourn
the loss of all those who have passed away as a result of COVID-19 or
any illness or injury sustained at work. We join the demand for proper
compensation regimes in opposition to the anti-social offensive and all
measures to dismantle them.
the Dead! Fight for the Living!
The most recent statistics from the
Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) tell us
that in 2019, 925 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada. Of
these, 882 were male workers, and 43 were female workers. Among these
deaths were 29 young workers aged 15 to 24.
Add to these fatalities
the 271,806 accepted claims (an increase from 264,438 the previous
year) for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease, including
33,615 from workers aged 15 to 24, and the fact that these statistics
only include what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards
and there is no doubt that the total number
of workers impacted is even greater.
In Ontario alone as of April 16, COVID-19-related claims statistics
from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board showed that 21,133 claims
have been allowed (including 46 deaths up to March 31, 2021), 2,007
claims not allowed, 259 claims pending and 6,700 exposure incident
And it's not just these numbers on which we need to reflect. With
each worker's tragedy there are loved ones, family members, friends and
co-workers who are directly affected, left behind, and deeply impacted
-- their lives also forever changed.
In 1991, eight years after the Day of Remembrance was launched by
the Canadian Labour Congress, the Parliament of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act
making April 28 an official Day of Mourning. Today the Day of Mourning
has spread to more than 100 countries around the world and is
recognized as Workers'
Memorial Day, and as International Workers' Memorial Day by the
International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade
Union Confederation (ITUC).
For further statistical information visit: AWCBC National Work Injuries Statistics Program.
(To access articles individually
click on the black headline.)
ISSUES | HOME