April 28th is the National Day of Mourning
On March 27, a well-known St.Catharines man, named Dean Maguire, passed away. According to an article by The Standard, Maguire was working on a roof at the Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto when he suddenly fell off. Maguire’s death was shocking, as his loved ones knew how careful he always was with his safety equipment at work.
Unfortunately, workplace accidents like Maguire’s happen far too often. The Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) says that there were 905 workplace deaths recorded in Canada in 2016. Six of those deaths were people, who were aged 15 to 19; and 20 of them were aged 20 to 24.
There are also thousands of Canadians who are getting injured at work. In 2016, 241,508 claims were accepted for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) took to Twitter to spread awareness about the Day of Mourning. “Every year millions of Ontarians go to work. And every year, too many of them never make the commute home. On April 28 we remember those workers who died, been injured or suffered illness in the workplace. #DayofMourning,” they tweeted, along with a short video.
The National Day of Mourning is a reminder that we need to commit to protecting workers and preventing further workplace tragedies. It is also a day to renew the commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace to prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.
WSIB’s Day of Mourning website has a place for individuals to write tributes to their loved ones, who were injured or lost their lives at work. An anonymous post dedicated to a man named Joey Fancey read, “It may be six months later, but the tears still flow and my heart still aches for your family. Your fairytale came to a tragic end that day with no rhyme or reason. May your boys and wife always remember what a fantastic guy you were and hold on to their precious memories forever in their hearts.”
Heartbreaking messages like the one for Fancey, plaster the tribute section of the website. While these messages may be hard to read, they showcase the reality of workplace accidents and put the amount of people who are affected into perspective.
The date of the Day of Mourning was chosen in 1984, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the first Ontario Worker’s Compensation Act being approved by the government. The Parliament of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act in 1991.
On April 28, flags will fly at half-mast on Parliament Hill and all federal government buildings in honour of those who have been affected by a workplace fatality, injury or illness.
Communities are encouraged to come together to create their own way of recognizing the Day of Mourning. In the past, some have chosen to light candles, lay wreaths, wear commemorative pins or ribbons, wear black armbands or pause for a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m.
The Niagara Regional Labour Council is hosting several ceremonies around the Niagara Region in honour of The Day of mourning. Everyone is encouraged to come out and show support for those who have lost loved ones or those who have been injured at their workplace. Please take a look at the list below to find a ceremony near you.
Niagara Regional Labour Council- Day of Mourning Ceremonies
- St. Catharines (7:30 a.m.) At the monument dedicated to the Fallen Welland Canal Workers, located at Lock 3 on the Welland Canal Parkway– west side of the Canal.
- St. Catharines (8:00 a.m.) At the monument dedicated to four fallen workers – under the St. Catharines Skyway. Located on the Welland Canal Parkway – west side of the canal, under the bridge.
- Niagara-on-the-Lake (9:15 a.m.) At the monument located at the Centennial Arena –1557 Four Mile Creek road in Virgil.
- Niagara Falls (10:30 a.m.) At the monument located at Niagara Falls City Hall –4310 Queen Street.
- Fort Erie (11:45 a.m.) At the Monument located at Fort Erie City Hall –1 Municipal Centre Drive along Highway 3.
- Port Colborne (1:00 p.m.) At the Monument located in H.H. Knoll Park on Sugarloaf Street, beside the hospital.
- Welland (2:00 p.m.) At the Monument located beside the canal in Merritt Park– 151 King Street.
- Port Robinson (3:00 p.m.) In memory of Robyn Lafleur, Esquire Canada explosion site (1999) – 125 South Street North.
- St. Catharines (4:00 p.m.) At the Monument located at St. Catharines City Hall –50 Church St.
- Niagara Region (5:15 p.m.) At the Monument located at the Region of Niagara Headquarters – 1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way.
Questions??? Contact Niagara Regional Labour Council
To Learn more about The Day of Mourning, visit WSIB Day of Mourning