Workers Centre hosts LifeQuilt Dedication
Parents of deceased young workers, labour leaders, employers, government officials and health and safety activists marked International Workers’ Day, May 1, with a formal dedication ceremony for a unique new national memorial to young workers fatally and seriously injured on the job. The Workers Health and Safety Centre proudly sponsored the event.
commemorates the lives of 100 young workers between the ages of 15 and 24, from every province and territory in Canada, each the victim of a workplace fatality.
The dedication ceremony was an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of many partners who helped bring the project to completion. The LifeQuilt
was made possible by generous financial donations and in-kind services from several individuals and organizations, especially many in the Canadian labour movement. Senior labour leaders including Canadian Labour Congress president, Ken Georgetti and Wayne Samuelson, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, both spoke at the event. The dedication concluded with a solemn candle lighting ceremony.
An impressive 9’ by 18’ the quilt mural and the life stories it has captured has already inspired many. Mark Reid is the safety and training supervisor for the Oshawa Transit Commission. At this spring’s Industrial Accident Prevention Association health and safety trade show and conference, where the completed quilt was unveiled, Reid heard Candace Carnahan speak about losing her leg while working as a summer student at a New Brunswick paper mill.
Reid was moved by her story and recognized the unique role the LifeQuilt
could play in educating other young workers. In recently training a dozen summer students at Oshawa Transit, he made sure they understood the company’s safety policies and procedures and reinforced it by sharing Carnahan’s story and others. From experience says Reid, “What hits home with these young people are the real life examples of young workers who have been injured or killed on the job. Looking at the expression on our students’ faces you know they have come to understand the importance of prevention.”