Each year on the National Day of Mourning, we pause to honour and remember workers whose lives were lost or forever changed by the simple act of going to work.
More than twenty years ago the Canadian Labour Congress declared April 28th a National Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed, suffer disease or injury as a result of work. Every year since, unions, labour councils, families and community partners gather by the thousands to ‘mourn for the dead.’ This National Day of Mourning is now observed in more than a hundred countries.
Today, we keep in our hearts and minds the Ontarians whose lives have been forever changed by a workplace accident or death. One injury or fatality is one too many. We need to work together to do whatever it takes to prevent injuries and fatalities in the workplace.
Together, we are making progress. Since 2003, we have had a 40 per cent reduction in overall workplace injuries. We are building a culture of safety in the workplace – and this now includes mental health and psychological safety in the workplace.
Ontario currently has one of the best safety records in Canada. In the past decade, we have doubled the number of occupational health and safety inspectors and launched our effective Safe at Work Ontario inspection strategy. We have also created the province’s first ever Chief Prevention Officer. In addition, since April 1, 2015, over 100,000 workers have completed the Ministry of Labour approved working at heights safety training.
Basic health and safety awareness training is mandatory for all workers and supervisors in the province. This training will help to ensure that all workers in Ontario have a basic understanding of their rights and responsibilities and it will make our workplaces even safer.
We know that more can be done and we will continue to work with our industry and community partners to prevent injuries and build safe and productive work places for all Ontarians.