Workers Health & Safety Centre

Provincial Bill seeks greater recognition of Workers Day of Mourning

Provincial Bill seeks greater recognition of Workers Day of Mourning
A private members Bill requiring flags at public buildings to be lowered in recognition of the Workers Day of Mourning has passed Second Reading with rare all party support.
“The lowered flag is a powerful symbol of our respect for the Day of Mourning, our shared loss, and our commitment to worker health and safety,” says Ontario NDP MPP, Percy Hatfield (pictured here) who introduced Bill 180, officially entitled Workers Day of Mourning Act. “We’ve done that here (at the Legislature). It’s been hit-and-miss elsewhere. This has to change,” adds the representative for Windsor-Tecumseh.
The Bill would proclaim April 28 as Ontario’s official Workers Day of Mourning. It would also require Canadian and Ontario flags to be flown at half-mast on April 28, outside the Legislative Building, Government of Ontario buildings and other public sector buildings, such as city and town halls, schools, universities, colleges, hospitals, police stations and fire halls.
“This bill will make the public, especially our younger citizens, more aware of the Workers Day of Mourning,” says Hatfield. “It should send a message to employers that they have to do more.”
At a press conference held prior to Second Reading, Hatfield spoke to the preventable deaths and suffering caused by unsafe and unhealthy workplaces. Equally important, he touched on some of the workplace efforts essential to achieving prevention. “Employers need to ensure the occupational health and safety training needs of workers are met along with providing competent supervision,” he said.
Ontario Federation of Labour health and safety director Vern Edwards also spoke during the press conference about the preventable death and suffering. He also highlighted challenges faced by workers in education, health care and social service sectors. “People at the top believe the Occupational Health and Safety Act is something that applies only to factories and construction sites. It’s been a struggle to convince them health and safety law applies to all workplaces under provincial jurisdiction.” 
A National Day of Mourning was first recognized by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984 to raise public awareness of worker injury, illness and death. More than 100 countries now observe the Workers Day of Mourning. 
With a new campaign that communicates “One death is too many. One day is not enough.”, the Workers Health & Safety Centre is helping promote Day of Mourning (DOM) 2016 events in communities across Ontario. This year’s message encourages taking the time to attend a DOM event, but also encourages a renewed commitment to prevention.
Learn more about Bill 180—Workers Day of Mourning Act
Learn more about the National Day of Mourning.

Download and share WHSC's 2016 Day of Mourning brochure.

Find an event in your community.

Want to learn how WHSC’s information and training resources can support your workplace prevention efforts? Contact WHSC and ask to speak with a training services representative.

To learn more:
Call:     1-888-869-7950