Category Archives: 2021 Canada

Canada: Day of Mourning – Recognizing the human cost of COVID-19 | Public Service Alliance of Canada


On the National Day of Mourning, PSAC joins Canada’s unions in recognizing the devastating human cost of COVID-19.

One year later, the pandemic has exposed many of the gaps inPSAC protections for workers across Canada. Workers and unions have had to fight for access to personal protective equipment, safe social distancing measures at work, paid sick leave and respect for basic health and safety rights.

Many of these health and safety issues are not new, but they’ve been exacerbated by the pandemic, and they disproportionately impact workers from marginalized communities because many work precarious jobs without access to sick leave.

Throughout the pandemic, PSAC has been working to secure safe and healthy working conditions for our members, wherever work is taking place. PSAC members have been exposed to COVID-19 at meat-packing plants, border crossings, federal penitentiaries, in hospitals, on military bases and at the office. We continue to fight for access to free personal protective equipment, proper training and paid sick days so that workers can stay home when they’re sick without the risk of exposing their co-workers, families and communities to COVID-19.

An estimated 58 per cent of Canadian workers don’t have access to paid sick leave through their employers, according to a report by the Decent Work and Health Network. That number rises to 70 per cent among people making less than $25,000 a year.

In the months ahead, our health and safety committees will continue to monitor workplaces, making sure employers respect your health and safety rights, including the right to refuse unsafe work, and ensure that all workplaces are safe before reopening.

PSAC will also continue to pressure provincial and territorial governments to provide universal, permanent and adequate paid sick leave so that nobody has to choose between going to work sick and getting paid.

Take action 

To add your voice to the call for paid sick leave for all, join the Canadian Labour Congress’s phone banking session on April 28 (English only) to call on decision-makers to take action on paid sick leave.

You can also download the CLC’s digital toolkit and shareables to mark the National Day of Mourning with Facebook and Twitter profile pictures while attending online ceremonies in your area.

Canada: Unifor calls for pandemic protection for workers on National Day of Mourning

Unifor calls for pandemic protection for workers on National Day of Mourning

TORONTO– As Unifor prepares to mark the National Day of Mourning on April 28, the union is calling for immediate government action to provide pandemic protection for workers.

“The pandemic has starkly revealed inequities in our workplaces, with many workers continuing to offer essential services, despite the risks to their health and to that of their families,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “No one should have to die to make a living, but provincial governments continue to reject pandemic measures needed to protect workers.”

Sadly, 19 Unifor members lost their lives since the last Day of Mourning, either on the job or to COVID-19. The seven Unifor members who died from COVID-19 worked in a variety of sectors, including long-term care, warehouse and manufacturing. In their memory, Unifor is continuing to advocate for priority vaccine access for all workers who must leave the house, permanent paid sick days, paid vaccination time and increased rapid testing.

April 28 marks the National Day of Mourning, to pay tribute to workers who died due to workplace injury and occupational disease and recommit to improve health and safety in the workplace. This year’s even takes on special significance during the heightened safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Canada: Working people built this country: they’ve earned a right to safe workplaces, and deserve them – UNA


Last year, 150 Alberta workers lost their lives on the job.

Families and co-workers were devastated. There was an empty spot at many tables, conversations will be missed forever, there are deep regrets because there was no chance to say I love you one more time.

Then came COVID-19. When we first heard of the new disease overseas, most of us assumed it would never land it Canada. We thought Western medicine would save us.

We were wrong. When the carnage arrived, borders were closed, civil restrictions put in place, visitors restricted in health care settings, continuous masking was required, a Joint Statement negotiated, single-site orders, AFD payments, isolation measures, mental health concerns, N95 respirators locked up, overtime, burnout, short staffing, and the list goes on.

All you need to do is look around at your workplace to see the stress on your co-workers’ faces.

Conversations are different. Who’s talking about a winter vacation or summer holidays now? Who’s thinking about an upcoming wedding invitation? Instead we have restrictions on attending a funeral to say goodbye. Who thought we’d ever need an invitation to attend a funeral for a dear friend or family member?

COVID units are over capacity, nurses must hold up iPads so family members can say goodbye. Imagine the mental toll that takes on those nurses? Resilience is a word employers rely on and workers have come to hate.

Despite all this, the Alberta Government has launched attacks on the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It is reviewing the OHS Code and considering language that would gut Joint Workplace Health and Safety Committees, eviscerate the applicable rate of pay UNA won at arbitration, and change the rules to make it harder to refuse unsafe work.

Eliminating work refusals that save lives and protect workers’ health and safety are justified in the name of “job creators” who forget that people who work and spend their wages are the economic drivers of the economy. Labour for this government has become a dirty word.

2020, a year many would like to forget, but mustn’t!

As bad a year as 2020 has been, there are positive outcomes that will take us into the future.

Employers can no longer tell workers and their unions that policies can’t be changed quickly. We have seen OHS policy changed in a week, not three years.

Meetings are now held virtually. Zoom and Skype are normal. Business gets done but the value of sitting across the table and looking someone in the eye seems to have been lost. A handshake on a deal is gone for the moment. But we will get back.

Supply chain lines for PPE are now secured. PPE is now manufactured in Canada and Alberta, including quality face shields, medical masks, and N95 respirators. No manager should hesitate to supply any PPE, no worker should hesitate to ask. This includes N95 respirators, when they are needed to perform work safely.

Health care workers are now supposedly eligible to receive vaccinations. But some workers caring for COVID patients had to meet additional criteria to be vaccinated. What’s wrong with this picture?

We must never forget that governments come and go, even in Alberta. We, the workers of Alberta, will still be here to challenge inadequate legislation.

At the time of writing, six health care workers have died and more than 8,000 have tested positive for COVID-19.

We must remember that not all health care workers who become infected with COVID recover. Some become “long-haulers,” and that will be their life’s journey. They are the walking wounded. We don’t know what medical attention they will require or what their life needs will be.

This article is not just about COVID-19. Countless other injuries occurred that caused the deaths of those 150 workers in 2020. They went to work and ended up not going home. They likely went to the hospitals where you work, where you tried to give them another shot at life.

April 28 is the day we remember that we, working people, built this country. Working people have earned the right to safe workplaces, and unions to keep them safe. All working people deserve a safe workplace

Stay Healthy! Work Safe!

This year, I want to talk to you, not about you!

Dewey Funk, Occupational Health & safety Advisor, United Nurses of Alberta

Canada: National Day of Mourning – April 28, 2021 CUPW Shows Respect


The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives or suffered injury or illness on the job. This annual event was initiated by the labour movement 37 years ago to increase awareness of on-the-job injuries and fatal workplace accidents. This day of remembrance was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, six years after it was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in 1985.

Although the National Day of Mourning is now recognized in more than 100 countries, including Canada, last year underscored that there is still a lot of work to accomplish in order to improve workers’ safety.

In the past year, the way we live and work greatly changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of Canadian workers have had to cope with reduced work hours or modified schedules, or been compelled to stay at home due to childcare issues, illness, or other personal challenges stemming from government-mandated emergency measures. Yet, others have had to continue working in spite of the persistent danger this virus represents.

We had to adapt the way we work, using personal protective equipment adapted to our different activities throughout the country. Workers of various sectors such as the postal service, put their health and safety at risk on a daily basis to ensure that Canadians can get through these unprecedented times. And all the while trying their best to take care of their own well-being and mental health.

This Wednesday, April 28, 2021, it is important that, wherever we are, we take the time to remember our brothers and sisters who have endured hardships or who tragically did not survive this terrible virus. Let us also remember those who died, suffered injuries or became disabled while on duty. We must all commit to continuing the struggle to force employers and governments to fulfill their obligation to make every workplace a safe and healthy one. We must also continue seeking stronger health and safety standards and protection, and better enforcement in our workplaces.


In solidarity,

Marc Roussel

National Union Representative – Health and Safety

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Poster (pdf)

Canada: Tamil and Chinese workers’ networks aim to ‘pause’ Ontario

After a year of COVID-19, a National Day of Mourning for workers who died or were injured on the job isn’t enough for some labour activists in Greater Toronto.

They want a whole week, from Sunday, April 25, to Saturday, May 1, declared a “week of pause” in Ontario.

There’s no accurate count of everyone — farm labourers, Amazon associates, personal support workers, nurses, bus drivers, cleaners, restaurant servers — who lost their lives or suffered over the pandemic after catching the virus at work, but it dwarfs tolls commemorated during past Days of Mourning in Ontario.

It was the Tamil Workers Network, volunteers working with the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, which first proposed going beyond the Day of Mourning on April 28 to “make Ontario pause, reflect on the power of its workers and the respect they deserve.”

Jennifer Huang, representing the labour council’s Chinese Workers Network, called the Tamil workers’ letter timely. “There’s a whole bunch of things (in it) we wholeheartedly agree with,” said Huang, who said her group will likely write its own open letter to the province asking for similar things. I think workers need to speak out,” said Huang, who said besides the virus, many workers have had to deal during the past year at work with “a skin pandemic” of energy-sapping racism that is mentally and emotionally taxing.

“Sometimes, the injuries we bear are not just physical” but mental or emotional, she said.

Scarborough Mirror.

Canada: CCOHS activities and resources for 28 April

Marked annually in Canada on April 28, the National Day of Mourning is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related tragedy.



The National Day of Mourning is not only a day to remember and honour those lives lost or injured due to a workplace tragedy, but also a day to collectively renew our commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace and prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.

How to support

Traditionally on April 28th the Canadian flag has flown at half-mast on Parliament Hill and on all federal government buildings. Employers and workers have observed Day of Mourning in a variety of ways over the years. Some have lit candles, laid wreaths, worn commemorative pins, ribbons or black armbands, and paused for a moment of silence.

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we encourage organizations, communities, and individuals to consider holding or supporting a virtual event, or simply pause at 11:00 am on April 28 for a moment of silence. These acts of remembrance help to honour the lives lost or injured due to workplace tragedy, while also acknowledging the sacrifices of frontline and essential workers who have died or become ill serving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employers and individuals can also show their support and commitment to a safe workplace by promoting the social media cards and messages provided by CCOHS at the bottom of this page. By sharing these messages, you are reminding more people to put health and safety at the forefront of their work and helping to prevent further work-related injuries and loss of life.

Beyond the statistics

The most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) tell us that in 2019, 925 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada. 882 were male workers, and 43 were female workers. Among these deaths were 29 young workers aged 15-24.

Add to these fatalities the 271,806 accepted claims (an increase from 264,438 the previous year) for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease, including 33,615 from workers aged 15-24, and the fact that these statistics only include what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards, there is no doubt that the total number of workers impacted is even greater.

And it’s not just these numbers on which we need to reflect. With each worker tragedy there are loved ones, family members, friends and co-workers who are directly affected, left behind, and deeply impacted – their lives also forever changed.


In 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress, the Parliament of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act making April 28 an official Day of Mourning. Today the Day of Mourning has since spread to more than 100 countries around the world and is recognized as Workers’ Memorial Day, and as International Workers’ Memorial Day by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

It is the hope of CCOHS that the annual observance of this day will help strengthen the resolve to establish safe and healthy conditions in the workplace, and prevent further injuries, illnesses, and deaths. As much as this is a day to remember the dead, it is also a call to protect the living and make work a place where people can thrive.

Source: Fatalities, by Age and Jurisdiction 2019, Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC),National Work Injury/Disease Statistics Program (NWISP)

Source: Lost Time Claims, by Age and Jurisdiction, 2019, Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC),National Work Injury/Disease Statistics Program (NWISP)

For further statistical information visit the AWCBC National Work Injuries Statistics Program.

Show your commitment on social media

Show your commitment by sharing the following messages on your social media channels.

Day of Mourning postcard with ducks

Day of Mourning postcard with ducks

Pause. Reflect. Remember.

At 11 a.m., I will honour workers who have died, were injured, or became ill from their job.

Day of Mourning postcard with dandelions and seeds

Day of Mourning postcard with dandelions and seeds

Pause. Reflect. Remember. Renew.

At 11 a.m., we will honour workers who have died, were injured, or became ill from their job, and will renew our commitment to health and safety in the workplace.

Day of Mourning postcard with candles

Day of Mourning postcard with candles

We remember workers who have died, were injured, or became ill from their job. We commit to protecting workers and preventing further workplace tragedies.

Day of Mourning postcard with worker wearing a mask

Day of Mourning postcard with worker wearing a mask

We honour the workers who have risked their health and safety to serve others, especially during these uncertain times.

More details


Canada: CLC-CTC – Day of Mourning Ceremonies 2021

Canadian national trade union body CLC-CTC  has published a comprehensive nationwide listing of activities planned to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.  More

Canada: 28 April is again taking place in the shadow of Covid-19

Canada: USW District 3 Day of Mourning Telephone Town Hall | USW Canada

Every April 28, Steelworkers gather in communities across Canada to mark the National Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job. It’s one of the most important events in the year as we remember those we’ve lost and recommit ourselves to fighting for the health and safety of every worker.

Once again, due to COVID-19, we are unable to gather, but it is important that we still connect. That’s why you are invited to mark the Day of Mourning by joining our Telephone Town Hall for Steelworkers on April 28.

Let’s come together on the phone to mourn for the dead and fight for the living.

Join our Day of Mourning Telephone Town Hall for District 3 members on Wednesday, April 28 at 6:00 p.m. Pacific.

If the union has your current phone number on file, you will receive a recorded notice one day before the telephone town hall. If you do not receive the call, please fill out the registration form below. On the day of the event, all you have to do is answer the phone when we call you on the evening of Wednesday, April 28. You simply stay on the line to join the telephone town hall.

Canada: Un message des dirigeants nationaux pour le Jour de deuil – SCFP

Le 28 avril, à l’occasion du Jour de deuil national pour les travailleurs tués ou blessés au travail, nous nous recueillons à la mémoire de tous ceux et celles qui ont perdu la vie et nous nous engageons à poursuivre la lutte pour des lieux de travail sains et sécuritaires pour tous.

Visionnez le message vidéo des dirigeants nationaux du SCFP :

Chaque année au Canada, environ 1000 travailleurs perdent la vie au travail. Ces décès sont évitables et ils ne devraient pas survenir. Chacun de ces décès est une tragédie.

Depuis le dernier Jour de deuil national, le SCFP a perdu 14 membres dans des accidents de travail. Dix de ces décès sont attribuables la COVID-19.

« Nous transmettons notre amour et notre solidarité aux familles, aux amis et aux collègues de ceux que nous avons perdus. Chaque travailleur devrait avoir droit à un milieu de travail sain et sécuritaire, et nous luttons chaque jour en ce sens », a déclaré le président national du SCFP, Mark Hancock.

Cette journée est toujours très émotive. C’est encore plus vrai cette année à cause de la pandémie.

« Nous tenons à exprimer notre solidarité et notre soutien à tous les travailleurs et travailleuses qui continuent d’offrir des services publics essentiels, malgré les risques pour leur santé et celle de leur famille. Cette crise montre à quel point il est important de faire front commun pour exiger des conditions de travail sécuritaires », a souligné le secrétaire-trésorier national du SCFP, Charles Fleury.

Ce 28 avril et chaque jour de l’année, le SCFP continuera de lutter pour un meilleur cadre législatif, pour une meilleure sensibilisation et pour que ses membres aient accès à l’équipement de protection individuelle dont ils ont besoin.

Jour de deuil

Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living