On average 900 Canadian workers are killed each year on the job. More than one million are injured. Yet employers and government continue to find these numbers acceptable, doing too little to reduce the toll of death and injury.
On April 28 we pause to remember our brothers and sisters who have died and to recommit ourselves to the fight for health and safety.
The Day of Mourning began as a result of the actions of CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee. It was born because of the needless injuries and deaths that happen each and every day, when employers are negligent or governments fail to enforce laws. It was created because of workers’ continuous struggles for decent, safe working conditions and the recognition of basic human rights.
April 28 is now observed around the world as unions lead the struggle for improved working conditions, dignity and respect on the job. It offers us an opportunity to stand together with the world’s workers, to reaffirm our solidarity and commitment to occupational health and safety and to say clearly to everyone that we “mourn for the dead, but fight for the living.”
On this day we remember those CUPE members killed on the job in the past year.
- Nazair Arsenault, CUPE 1000 (Ontario), was electrocuted while trimming vegetation.
- Leslie Lucas, CUPE 108 (Nova Scotia), suffered a fatal allergic reaction to a bee sting while working with a maintenance crew.
- Grant Atkinson, CUPE 228 (Manitoba), was killed after falling from a scaffold.
- Marc Desforges, CUPE 4545 (Quebec), died while cleaning a sand spreader for sidewalks. Marc was working alone.
- Lennard Blanco, CUPE 500 (Manitoba), was killed when a branch fell on his head as he was topping trees.