Alberta remains one of the most dangerous places in Canada to be a worker

AFL calls for action on worker safety during Day of Mourning For Workers Killed or Injured On the Job

EDMONTON – Alberta is one of most dangerous places in Canada to be a worker, but the government has an opportunity to make change for the better.

While taking part in ceremonies for the International Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job today, Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan urged government to use the current Employment Standards Review process to make the province’s workplaces safer.

“Alberta is the only place in Canada where we find so many exemptions and lack of safety inspections, enforcement, or prosecutions. There is more impunity in this province than anywhere else in Canada. It is the best place in Canada for employers to get away with unsafe work, and remains one of the most dangerous places in Canada to be a worker,” McGowan said at the Edmonton District Labour Council’s Day of Mourning ceremony at Grant Notley Park in Edmonton at 6 p.m.

The AFL has a ten-point plan for worker safety on the job, which includes more resources for prosecutions, administrative fines with teeth, posting safety records online, joint worker-employer health and safety committees, eliminating child labour in mainstream workplaces, covering farm workers under occupational health and safety standards, an inquiry into workplace carcinogens and occupational disease, more resources for targeted inspections and enforcement in dangerous industries, ending bonuses to WCB workers for denying claims and increasing WCB premiums in dangerous industries.

So far, the Government of Alberta has refused to implement these common-sense recommendations. Alberta’s workplace fatalities have increased from 43 in 2011 to 52 last year.

THE DAY OF MOURNING BY THE NUMBERS

2013

99 deaths of occupational disease in Alberta

52 deaths from workplace incidents/accidents

37 deaths from motor vehicle collisions on the job

Number of charges laid, at April 28, 2014, by Alberta Crown Prosecutors, stemming from the 52 workplace fatalities in 2013: 0

2012

Number of charges laid, at April 28, 2014, by Alberta Crown Prosecutors stemming from the 51 workplace fatalities in 2012: 2

Number of convictions so far for 2012-13 workplace fatalities: 0

Year Premier Redford promised to include farm workers in Occupational health and Safety standards: 2011

Year Alberta stopped reporting farm worker deaths: 2012

Number of provinces that share Alberta’s exemption for industrial feedlots, grain operations, and other farm workplaces from Occupational Health and Safety Standards: 0

Number of provinces that do not have joint worker-employer health and safety committees: 1 (Alberta)

Number of provinces that allow children between 12-14 to work in some restaurant and retail jobs: 1 (Alberta)

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell)
or via e-mail
orokne@afl.org


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