Posted: Thursday, 15 April 2010
Is today the day you die at work?
Over the past twenty-five years, successive governments have pledged their support to workers and their unions. They announced new workplace health and safety laws and regulations - some of the best in the world. Unfortunately, they have failed to provide the resources needed to enforce those new laws.
Over the last twenty-five years, the number of Canadians who die every year because of something that happened to them at work has been steadily growing. We know that hundreds more deaths occur due to exposures to carcinogens and toxins in the workplace, but they are never identified or accepted as work-related by Workers’ Compensation Boards.
The slogan for the CLC National Day of Mourning, “Is today the day you die at work?” asks, why is it that so many Canadians unjustly lose their life?
Sadly, for 2008, the most recent year for which we have statistics, 1,036 Canadians lost their lives because of their work.
This is the reason why Canada’s workplaces claim a growing number of lives every year; the laws are not enforced, so reckless employers are allowed to carry on without consequence.
It’s time for the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments to appoint special prosecutors to lay charges under the Criminal Code against employers when their actions cause death or serious injury. More inspectors must be hired to ensure employers comply with the law. Government regulators must be held accountable for this carnage that seems to go unchecked.
As we take time today, April 28th, to remember those who have lost their lives, been injured or became ill, due to their work, I ask you to do more than reflect on the importance of health and safety, I ask you to think of those who are closest to you, your child, your spouse, your sibling, your parent, your best friend. Consider the role they play in your life and your family’s lives. Imagine if their life was taken from them. Every single one of those 1,036 lives that ended in 2008 had dreams, had a mom and had people who loved and continue to love and miss them.
Ken Georgetti, President
Download the statement in PDF format.