As the Canadian flag flew at half-mast, workers gathered at Woodbridge Memorial Arena on a chilly Friday morning to pay their respects to those who had been killed and injured on the job.
The Woodbridge event was one of the many held throughout Ontario leading up to the Day of Mourning on April 28. Started in 1984 by the Canadian Labour Congress, the day is about creating safer workplaces so workers can end their working lives in dignity and health – not premature injury, disease or death.Martha Villeda, who works in Local 1000A’s Health and Safety and WSIB Department, spoke at the event about the lives of workers who have been injured, or killed on the job.
“They are the fuel that lights the fire of our fight --- the fight for safer workplaces, the fight for better enforcement of legislation that protects workers and the fight for the day where corporate negligence is punished with jail time.”
In Canada, workplace deaths remain a major problem. In 2011, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety reports that at least 919 workers lost their lives due to work-related causes.
Local 1000A President Pearl Sawyer encouraged members to affirm their commitment to fight for the living and prevent injury and illness on the job by:
- Reporting unsafe or hazardous conditions to your employer;
- Advising your joint health & safety committee (JH&SC) worker member(s) of any such conditions in your workplace;
- Reporting all accidents and near misses, and asking to be kept appraised of the outcome of your reports;
- Insisting that your employer provide a work environment that is both healthy and safe for you and your co-workers.
If you have any questions or concerns about health and safety issues in your workplace, contact your union office (1-800-637-5936) and ask for the health and safety department.