On April 28, the flags on Parliament Hill will fly at half-mast to commemorate the National Day of Mourning. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), along with organizations around the world, will remember those who died, were injured, or made ill from their work. It will also be a day for organizations and individuals alike to reflect on how we can prevent further workplace tragedies.

Employers and workers will observe the National Day of Mourning in a variety of ways. Some will attend ceremonies, light candles, lay wreaths, wear commemorative pins, ribbons or black armbands, and pause for a moment of silence at 11 a.m. In an effort to create a concerted show of support on social media channels, CCOHS has invited people to join their Thunderclap, which will send a single message that will be mass-shared, simultaneously, through the accounts of those who sign up.

More information about the National Day of Mourning, the Thunderclap campaign and other free resources to help promote awareness in the workplace, can be found on the CCOHS website.

“On this day we honour and remember those whose lives have been cut short or forever altered simply by going to work,” said Anne Tennier, CCOHS president and CEO, in a news release. “Our thoughts are also with the families and loved ones whose lives have been forever changed by these workplace tragedies, most of which were preventable. One injury or life lost is one too many and the most fundamental right of workers in Canada is to return home from the job, safe and sound.”

The date, April 28, was chosen in 1984, because on that day in 1914 Ontario proclaimed the first Workers Compensation Act in Canada. In February 1991, the federal government passed the “Workers Mourning Day Act” (Bill C-223). The National Day of Mourning is now recognized in 100 countries around the world.

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