National Day of Mourning

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.

Observance

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.

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 practice physical distancing and consider holding or supporting a virtual event, or simply pause at 11:00 am on April 28 for a moment of silence.

Beyond the Statistics

The most recent statistics from the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) tell us that in 2018, 1027 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada, an increase of 76 from the previous year. Among these deaths were 27 young workers aged 15-24.

Add to these fatalities the 264,438 accepted claims (an increase from 251,508 the previous year) for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease, including 33,058 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.

History

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 to thrive.


Show your commitment

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

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I will be pausing for a moment of silence at 11 am on April 28 to honour workers who have died, were injured, or became ill from their job.
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I will be pausing for a moment of silence at 11 am on April 28 to honour workers who have died, were injured, or became ill from their job.
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In 2018 in Canada, 27 workers under 25 years of age died in workplace tragedies. Keep our young workers safe.
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We remember those who died, or were injured or made ill from their work.
We commit to protecting workers and preventing further workplace tragedies.
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A day to remember those killed, injured or made ill in the workplace and to renew our commitment to preventing further tragedies.
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Remembering those killed, injured or made ill in the workplace and renewing our commitment to prevention.

Mourning Day Act

S.C. 1991, c. 15

An Act respecting a Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace [Assented to 1st February, 1991]

WHEREAS it is desirable that Canadians should designate a day of mourning to remember workers killed, disabled or injured in the workplace and workers afflicted with industrial disease;

AND WHEREAS Canadians seek earnestly to set an example of their commitment to the issue of health and safety in the workplace;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows

Short title

1.This Act may be cited as the Workers Mourning Day Act.

Day of Mourning

2. (1) Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the 28th day of April shall be known under the name of "Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace".

(2) For greater certainty, the Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace is not a legal holiday or a non-juridical day and shall not be required to be kept or observed as such.

LifeQuilt

The LifeQuilt, a project by Threads of Life, is a unique and permanent memorial dedicated to the thousands of young women and men between the ages of 14 and 24, who have been killed and injured on the job. The quilt commemorates 100 young workers killed on the job with individual, personalized quilted blocks. One hundred injured young workers are recognized on the centre panel. Learn more

Memorial Photos

The following memorials from around the world have been erected and dedicated to workers whose lives have been lost on the job. If you have a photo of a memorial that you would like to share (including those already listed here), please contact us and we'll follow up to get more details from you.

Canada

Select the thumbnails below to view the actual monuments.

Day of Mourning Monument

Day of Mourning Monument

Hamilton, ON, Canada

The Canadian Young Workers Memorial Quilt

The Canadian Young Workers Memorial Quilt

Canadian Labour Congress Monument

Canadian Labour Congress Monument

Ottawa, ON, Canada

Falconbridge Mural

Falconbridge Mural

Sudbury, ON, Canada

Miner's Memorial Kirkland Lake

Miner's Memorial Kirkland Lake,

ON, Canada

Rideau Canal Fabric Mural Memorial

Rideau Canal Fabric Mural Memorial

Kingston, ON, Canada

Fire Fighter's Monument

Fire Fighter's Monument

Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Breaking Ground Hoggs Hollow Memorial

"Breaking Ground" Hoggs Hollow Memorial

Toronto, ON, Canada

Fishermen’s Needle Memorial

Fishermen’s Needle Memorial

Steveston, BC, Canada

Golden Tree Farmworkers’ Monument

Golden Tree Farmworkers’ Monument

Abbotsford, BC, Canada

BC Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial

BC Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial

Victoria, BC, Canada

Helen's Cafe Mural

Helen's Cafe Mural

Kitimat, BC, Canada

Fallen Workers Monument

Fallen Workers Monument

Saint John, NB, Canada

Westville Miner’s Memorial

Westville Miner’s Memorial

Pictou County, NS, Canada

Stellarton Miner’s Memorial

Stellarton Miner’s Memorial

Pictou County, NS, Canada

Westray Miner’s Memorial

Westray Miner’s Memorial

New Glasgow, Pictou County, NS, Canada

Fallen Worker’s Monument

Fallen Worker’s Monument

New Glasgow, NS, Canada

Porcupine Miner’s Memorial

Porcupine Miner’s Memorial

Timmins, ON, Canada

Welland Canal Fallen Worker’s Memorial

Welland Canal Fallen Worker’s Memorial

Welland, ON, Canada

International

Select the thumbnails below to view the actual monuments.

Hoover Dam Monument

Hoover Dam Monument

Boulder, Colorado, USA

Airplane and Fishermen Monument

Airplane and Fishermen Monument

Hedinsfjordur, Iceland

Workers Memorial Day Stained Glass Window

Workers Memorial Day Stained Glass Window

Birmingham, England