Today is the National Day of Mourning for workers injured or killed in the course of their work duties.
In last year’s message, we drew your attention to the plight of Canadian workers who, in many cases, found themselves unsupported and improperly protected by governments in the face of an emerging biological threat.
But throughout the pandemic, more traditional struggles related to occupational health and safety persisted, often overshadowed, or even forgotten in the chaos caused by COVID-19. We mustn’t forget that safety in all respects of work is a fundamental right, and the duty of Canadian employers and workers to uphold it.
In Canada, approximately 1,000 worker deaths a year are recognized by governments and Workers’ Compensation Boards, and we know this is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were 925 accepted workplace fatalities, and 271,806 accepted lost time claims in Canada.
These numbers represent only a fraction of the true toll, as we know many occupational illness, injuries and deaths are not included in workers compensation statistics. These numbers also don’t reflect the realities of the many worker fatalities and illnesses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As our union has said before, the best way to honour those lost to workplace injuries and illnesses, is to champion safety on the job. Be a part of the process, however frustrating it may seem. Raise awareness of hazards, however small.
Our Union has taken a page from lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be actively engaging the membership in new and exciting opportunities to learn about safety and get involved. Look forward to bulletins highlighting webinars and conferences and outreach initiatives.
Let’s continue to make safety our number one priority.
Click the following link to observe a minute of silence with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS):
Your Air Canada Component of CUPE Health and Safety Committee