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CUPE is proud to present the first issue of The Canary: CUPE’s health and safety newsletter.

The Canary picks up where our former publication, Health and Safety Update, left off. We’ll bring you important news, developments, and helpful resources on workplace health and safety.

You’ll notice that our new publication is in full colour, features sections headings and topic indicators, and links to more information and material on our website. It’s all meant to help you find what you’re looking for.

Here’s what’s in the latest issue:

Vigils honour crash victims

Thousands attended vigils in Yellowknife and Ottawa for victims of the tragic First Air crash near Resolute, Nunavut. Two CUPE members were among the 12 killed.

Health and Safety legislation changes in Manitoba and Ontario

New legislation passed by Manitoba’s NDP government will better protect workers in jobs with an elevated risk of violent incidents. Meanwhile, Ontario’s legislation transfers responsibility for occupational injury and illness prevention from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to the Ministry of Labour.

Also in safe@work, we look at the four steps you can take to resolving a workplace health and safety problem.

All this and more in the first issue of The Canary.

Plus, The Canary is available online and via email subscription.

Head over to CUPE.ca/subscribe to add your name to our growing list of subscribers, or check out CUPE.ca/publications to find The Canary and other quality CUPE publications online.

Why call it The Canary?

Canaries were once used in mines to warn mineworkers about changes in air quality. Workers knew that if the canary died, the air in the mine was quickly becoming poisonous, and they had to evacuate quickly. Since then, the canary has become a symbol of workplace safety, and an important reminder of dangerous working conditions.

But there’s more to it than that. As public sector workers, CUPE members often spend long hours working in environments where they are frequently—in many cases constantly—exposed to a wide variety of hazards. As frontline workers in hospitals, schools, municipalities and other sectors, our members are often among the first to respond in a crisis, sometimes with limited protection for themselves. Though faced with danger, our members often press forward because of the importance of their work. In that sense, many of our members have become the canary, as they are first to suffer consequences in dangerous or hazardous situations.

CUPE has long-used the symbol of the canary on health and safety materials and as a symbol for the National Day of Mourning. It’s an important symbol for our members and for the work we do to make sure they come home from work safe. In the end, what else could we call it?

Keep your eye out for more changes as we continue to improve CUPE’s health and safety resources for members.