Day of Mourning – April 28
workers who have died, were injured, or became ill from their job.
to protecting workers and preventing further workplace tragedies.
Marked annually in Canada on April 28, the National Day of Mourning is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related tragedy.
The National Day of Mourning is not only a day to remember and honour those lives lost or injured due to a workplace tragedy, but also a day to collectively renew our commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace and prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.
How to support
Traditionally on April 28th the Canadian flag has flown at half-mast on Parliament Hill and on all federal government buildings. Employers and workers have observed Day of Mourning in a variety of ways over the years. Some have lit candles, laid wreaths, worn commemorative pins, ribbons or black armbands, and paused for a moment of silence.
In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we encourage organizations, communities, and individuals to consider holding or supporting a virtual event, or simply pause at 11:00 am on April 28 for a moment of silence. These acts of remembrance help to honour the lives lost or injured due to workplace tragedy, while also acknowledging the sacrifices of frontline and essential workers who have died or become ill serving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employers and individuals can also show their support and commitment to a safe workplace by promoting the social media cards and messages provided by CCOHS at the bottom of this page. By sharing these messages, you are reminding more people to put health and safety at the forefront of their work and helping to prevent further work-related injuries and loss of life.
Beyond the statistics
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. 882 were male workers, and 43 were female workers. Among these deaths were 29 young workers aged 15-24.
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 15-24, and the fact that these statistics only include what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards, there is no doubt that the total number of workers impacted is even greater.
And it’s not just these numbers on which we need to reflect. 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.
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 since 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).
It is the hope of CCOHS that the annual observance of this day will help strengthen the resolve to establish safe and healthy conditions in the workplace, and prevent further injuries, illnesses, and deaths. As much as this is a day to remember the dead, it is also a call to protect the living and make work a place where people can thrive.
Source: Fatalities, by Age and Jurisdiction 2019, Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), National Work Injury/Disease Statistics Program (NWISP)
Source: Lost Time Claims, by Age and Jurisdiction, 2019, Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), National Work Injury/Disease Statistics Program (NWISP)
For further statistical information visit the AWCBC National Work Injuries Statistics Program.