OTTAWA – On the National Day of Mourning, April 28, workers must stand together and assert their rights to healthy and safe workplaces, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
“On this National Day of Mourning we need to remember why CUPE members are injured and dying needlessly,” says CUPE National President Paul Moist. “Governments are not enforcing legislation and employers are not complying with the law.”
It’s been over 20 years since the creation of the National Day of Mourning and injury and fatality rates are still increasing.
“In 1984, when the National Day of Mourning was created by CUPE, there were 744 workplace fatalities recognized by compensation boards across Canada,” Moist said. “In 2005 there were 1,097 recognized fatalities. As horrendous as these statistics are, the real picture is even worse because compensation boards do not recognize a number of occupational illnesses.”
Since 1984 more than 19,000 Canadian workers have been killed on the job and more than 20,000,000 have been injured. The Centre for the Study of Living Standards reported that in 2005 the incidence of workplace fatalities in Canada was 6.8 per 100,000 workers, up from 5.9 per 100,000 workers in 1993.
“This workplace carnage has to stop and it can stop if governments put their efforts into prevention programs and enforcing legislation,” said Claude Généreux, CUPE national secretary-treasurer.
Five CUPE members – Kim Weitzel, Shawn Currier, Jason Negrich, Alain Simard and Frederick Michael Bonvie – died while on the job in 2006 and thousands more were injured.
“Not one more should have to die and not one more should get sick from their work,” added Généreux. “Workers are doing their part to prevent sickness and death – it’s time for governments and employers to do their part.”
For more information please contact: Paul Moist, CUPE National President 613-237-1590 ext. 224 or 613-558-2873 cell; Claude Généreux, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer 613-237-1590 ext. 201 or 514-884-5074 cell