The National Day of Mourning is April 28. People will keep memories alive together online, reminding us why workplace health and safety matters.
More than 100 countries around the world recognize April 28 as Workers’ Memorial Day.
In Canada, the federal government enacted the Workers Mourning Day Act in 1991, declaring April 28 an official national Day of Mourning. Traditionally on April 28 the Canadian flag is flown at half-mast on Parliament Hill and all federal government buildings.
“With each worker 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,” states the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’s webpage on this event.
Remembering together online
In 2001, the BC Federation of Labour, the Business Council of British Columbia, and WorkSafeBC dedicated a permanent workers’ memorial in the Sanctuary in Hastings Park in Vancouver. Since 1997, they have co-hosted a public commemorative ceremony for the Day of Mourning in Vancouver, B.C. But in 2021, for the second year in a row, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the annual public ceremony will be online.
This year people are encouraged to visit dayofmourning.bc.ca on April 28 at 10:30 am to share a moment of silence and watch messages from the Province of B.C., BC Federation of Labour, Business Council of British Columbia, Vancouver and District Labour Council, and WorkSafeBC. Avneet Sidhu will also speak in memory of her mother, who died in a work-related incident.
Many organizations around B.C. are choosing to recognize workers who died as a result of workplace injury or disease by holding physically distanced or virtual events.
Taking steps to heal
Steps for Life is an annual fundraising walk held in communities across Canada. This event raises funds for Threads of Life, an organization that helps families affected by work-related death, life-altering injury, or disease. Their goal is “to provide peer support and stronger coping skills to families in the very worst time of their lives.” In B.C., the 2021 walk will take place in Vancouver, on May 1–2.
Threads of Life also hosts FamiliesConnect workshops online to give “practical tips and information specifically tailored for those dealing with a life-altering workplace injury, occupational disease, or workplace fatality.”
My heart goes out to everyone feeling a loss today. We can remember together, even if we need to stay apart for now. You are not alone.