What is the National Day of Mourning?

April 6th, 2015

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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