April 28: The National Day of Mourning – Commemorating victims of workplace hazards and occupational exposures

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Poster for the 2019 Day of Mourning event in Hamilton

The National Day of Mourning was observed in Canada on April 28 to commemorate workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and occupational exposures.

In 1984, unions in Sudbury adopted the day to publicly acknowledge workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, and the Canadian Labour Congress officially declared the day of remembrance, Threads of Life reports on its website. April 28 was chosen to reflect the anniversary of the day Ontario passed the Workers’ Compensation Act in 1914.

On April 28, 1991, Canada recognized its first National Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace: Flags fly at half-mast, and ceremonies are held across the country to recognize the lives needlessly lost, and the tremendous suffering of those left in the wake of workplace tragedy.

The Day of Mourning has spread internationally, and now more than 100 other countries have also adopted the observance known widely as Workers’ Memorial Day.

Commemorative events were scheduled across Ontario.

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