April 28 is the Canadian National Day of Mourning. This day is dedicated to remembering workers who have lost their lives or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related tragedy. It is also a day to recommit to making every workplace safe and healthy.
Last year, 34 workers in Saskatchewan died as a result of a workplace injury or a disease they contracted while at work. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safetysays: “The most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) tell us that in 2019, 925 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada. 882 were male workers, and 43 were female workers. Among these deaths were 29 young workers aged 15-24.”
For many, this year’s Day of Mourning is especially meaningful because of the pandemic. It is important for us to recognize workers who have contracted COVID-19 at work and who became sick or died as a result. The human cost that COVID-19 has had on workers worldwide has been immense.
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is calling on the Provincial Government to:
- Immediately implement permanent, paid sick leave so workers don’t have to choose between either going to work sick or collecting a paycheque
- Immediately implement rapid testing for all workplaces
- Ensure workers have access to proper personal protective equipment
- Ensure there are real consequences for any workplaces that fail to protect their workers or ignore public health guidelines
The flag on campus flies at half-mast today to recognize the Day of Mourning.
We honour the workers who have risked their health and safety to serve others, especially in the face of such precarious conditions.