What is the National Day of Mourning?
On April 28th, Canadians will observe the National Day of Mourning. This day commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or have suffered from some type of illness due to workplace related hazards. From 1993 to 2013, over 18,000 people have lost their lives due to work-related causes; this number represents over two deaths per day.
More than 80 countries around the world have adopted the observance since its inception. Employers and employees observe the day through various practices such as wearing ribbons and bracelets, as well as observing a moment of silence.
Ultimately, the Day of Mourning is to pay respect to those who have lost their life or have been injured on the job. It also serves as a reminder to protect the living and the reinforce that that safety in the workplace can prevent further deaths, injuries and disease as a result of unsafe work environments. In Ottawa, the flag will fly at half-mast on Parliament Hill.
The poem below was written in the memory of Rolyn Sumlak, who died Oct. 9, 1990
Someone – Dennis Mikalsen
Someone died the other day,
An accident is what they say
The boom went up and hit the line
The medics came but not in time
How could it happen we stare and say
We practice safety every day
We grieve with the family and do our best
To help each other through this test
Suddenly emerged from unseen forts
Inspectors chastise and make reports
Where were they before the day
A safety hazard took a life away
In a hurry running late
Do it now or it can wait
But the works important
Priority one, we can do it, if we run
Need more training, that’s “OK”
But it can wait for another day
What? Staff unhappy all will be well
When we hear from personnel
Safety’s important, it’s not a game
That was the line before the budget came
Reduce your workload that’s not what we meant
When we cut staff by ten percent
The more we do the more needs done
Building empires is really fun
Do your work and really care
The more you do the better I fare
The death of our brother was tragic and wrong
But he cared and our memories will be cherished and long
With his passing, our brother left something to do
The torch has been passed to me and to you
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