Today, workers in Alberta will mark the 8th Annual International Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job. Remembrances will take place at workplaces and at special ceremonies around the province.
"For the sixth year in a row, Alberta workplaces have claimed the lives of over 100 workers," says Les Steel, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour. "And that number counts only deaths accepted by the Workers' Compensation Board. The actual number is many times greater."
Last year, according to official statistics, 101 workers lost their lives at work and over 155,000 more were injured.
"Two deaths a week shows that in this province, work is hazardous to your health," says Steel. "The Day of Mourning is important not only to remember those who have lost their lives or health at work, but to commit to take action to end this scourge," he adds. "Every single workplace death is preventable."
Steel adds that unions in Canada are currently pressing the federal government to introduce legislation which will hold corporations and managers personally liable for negligence which leads to a fatality.
"We need legislation which clearly says to those who put profits before human life, that we don't consider workplace fatalities an accident, we consider it a crime," says Steel.
The Day of Mourning was started by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984 and was officially recognized federally in 1991. It has since grown to become an international event, commemorated in over 70 countries worldwide.
The Alberta Federation of Labour is holding a commemorative ceremony to mark the day:
Monday, April 28 - 7:00 pm at City Hall
The event is a mix of cultural performances, speakers, and a candle lighting to commemorate the Day of Mourning. Strong visual images are an important part of the ceremony. City Councillor Dave Thiele will present the official proclamation on behalf of the City of Edmonton.
For further information contact:
Les Steel, President 780-499-4135 (cell)
Scott Harris, Executive Director 780-483-3021 (work)