I am writing to you to acknowledge that today, Monday April 28 is the National Day of Mourning. This date commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents. The numbers are staggering. In 2012, 977 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada - an increase from 919 in the previous year. This represents more than 2.7 deaths every single day. In the twenty year period from 1993 to 2012, 18,039 people lost their lives due to work-related causes (an average of 902 deaths per year)
Workers' Memorial Day was started by the Canadian Union of Public Employees in 1984, and the Canadian Labour Congress officially declared it an annual day of remembrance in 1985 on April 28. The date 28 April was picked because on that day in 1914, the Workers Compensation Act received its third reading. In December 1990, this day became a national observance with the passing of the Workers' Mourning Day Act, so that on April 28, 1991, it was officially the National Day of Mourning. In 2001 the International Labour Organization first observed World Day for Safety and Health at Work on this day. The Day of Mourning has since spread to about 80 countries around the world. Our flags will be lowered to half-mast on Monday.
As we go to work, please join with co-workers throughout our organization in remembering those being commemorated. Let us further strive to establish safe conditions in the workplace for all and renew our commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace to prevent further deaths, injuries and diseases from work. It is as much a time to remember lives lost and those who have been injured, as it is a call to protect the living.
This year, in particular, I wish to also take a special moment to remember people around the world who work in educational settings who have been injured or killed due to the senseless acts of others.
Please take a moment to reflect on this important and somber time.
Superintendent of Schools
Vancouver School Board