April, 2017 - In 2016, the BC's Workers Compensation Board accepted claims for the deaths of 144 workers who were killed while at work.
Labour-sponsored ceremonies honouring these workers, and all workers who have been killed or injured at work or who are suffering or who have died as a result of occupational illness, will be taking place around the province acknowledging the National Day Mourning on April 28th. See the list below.
History of the Day of Mourning
The Day of Mourning has a very proud Canadian labour history. At the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) convention in 1984, a resolution was submitted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) National Health and Safety Committee recommending the creation of a remembrance day for workers killed or injured on the job – this resolution was readily adopted by the convention delegates. The date April 28th was chosen as on April 28 in 1914 the first comprehensive workers compensation act was passed in the legislature.
The CLC officially declared and recognized the National Day of Mourning on April 28, 1985. In Canada, over 25,000 workers have died due to work-related injury or disease since 1985.
In December 1990, following years of lobbying efforts by Canadian unions and the NDP, the federal government passed Bill C-223, the Workers Mourning Day Act, make April 28, 1991 the first government recognized National Day of Mourning. The Act is a brief piece of legislation, which reads, in part:
“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.”
This movement quickly spread outside of Canada. In the United States in 1989, the American Federation of Labour began to recognize April 28th as Workers’ Memorial Day. The United Kingdom (UK) began their campaign to recognize this day in 1992. Workers’ Memorial Day was adopted by the Scottish Trade Union Congress (TUC) in 1993, the UK TUC in 1999 and the UK Health and Safety Commission in 2000.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International TUC (ITUC) declared the International Day of Mourning in 1996. Let us carry on the international cry to: “MOURN for the Dead and FIGHT for the Living!”
List of 2017 labour-sponsored ceremonies (check back frequently for updates):
Abbotsford: Friday April 28th starting at 10:30 am at Abbotsford City Hall, Civic Plaza (near the fountains), 32315 South Fraser Way. Sponsored by CUPE 774 and the City of Abbotsford.
Campbell River: Friday April 28th starting at 10:30 am at Spirit Square Shoppers Row. Sponsored by the Campbell River and Courtenay District Labour Council (and City of Campbell River).
Courtenay: Friday April 28th starting at 10:00 am Simms Park Pavilion, Old Island Highway. Sponsored by CUPE Local 556 (and City of Courtenay and Threads of Life).
Cranbrook: Friday April 28th starting at 5:00 pm at Rotary Park, 100 10th Avenue South. Sponsored by the East Kootenay District Labour Council.
Dawson Creek: Starting at noon at the Dawson Creek City Hall, 10105 12A Street. Jointly sponsored with CUPE Local 2403.?
Delta: Friday April 28th starting at 10:45 am at Rotary Park in front of the Delta Municipal Hall. Sponsored by CUPE Local 545 – Delta Public Employees.
Gibsons: Friday April 28th starting at 11:00 am at Dougall Park, Gower Point Road and South Fletcher Road. Sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Labour Council.
Kamloops: Friday April 28th starting at 6:00 pm at St. Andrews on the Square (corner of 2nd and Seymour). Sponsored by the Kamloops and District Labour Council.
Kelowna: Friday April 28th starting at noon at Ben Lee Park, 900 Houghton Rd. Sponsored by the North Okanagan Labour Council.
Lake Cowichan: Friday April 28th starting at 9:00 am at Forest Workers Memorial Park, 58 Shore Rd. Sponsored by the BC Ferry & Marine Workers Union.
Mission: Friday April 28th starting at 10:00 am at Mission Public Works Yard, 33835 Dewdney Trunk Road. Sponsored by CUPE 1267, IAFF and the District of Mission.
Nanaimo: Friday April 28th starting at noon at Pioneer Waterfront Plaza, 100 Port Drive. Sponsored by the BC Ferry & Marine Workers Union and the Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council.
New Westminster: Friday April 28th starting at 11:00 am at Westminster Pier Park. Sponsored by the New Westminster & District Labour Council.
Parksville: Friday April 28th starting at 3:00 pm (tentative) at Parksville City Hall. Sponsored by the Nanaimo & Duncan District Labour Council.
Prince George: Friday April 28th starting at noon at the Workers Memorial Statue, Patricia Blvd. and Queensway Street. Sponsored by the North Central Labour Council.
Rutland: Friday April 28th starting at noon at Ben Lee Park, Franklin & Houghton near Waterpark. Sponsored by the North Okanagan Labour Council and WCB.
Salmon Arm: Friday April 28th starting at 10:45 am. Sponsored by the CUPE 1908, City of Salmon Arm and Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
Sparwood: Friday April 28th starting at noon at Centennial Square, Ceremony at Titan Park and Unveiling of Miners Memorial Wall. Sponsored by United Steelworkers 9346.
Squamish: Sunday April 30th (please note date) starting at 11:00 am at the Workers’ Memorial Monument at Pavilion Park. Sponsored by the Squamish & District Labour Committee.
Vancouver: Friday April 28th starting at 10:30 am at Hastings Park, 2901 East Hastings Street at Centre Grounds near the PNE Forum, enter via Gate 2. Sponsored by the BC Federation of Labour, Business Council of BC and the Workers Compensation Board (marketing name WorkSafeBC).
Victoria: Friday April 28th starting at 10:30 am with a Memorial Procession starting at the Victoria Conference Centre at 720 Douglas Street to the Official Ceremony starting at 11:00 am on the front lawn at the BC Legislature, 501 Belleville Street. Sponsored by the Victoria Labour Council, the BC Federation of Labour and CUPE BC.
Williams Lake: Friday April 28th starting at 11:00 am at the Cenotaph at City Hall, 450 Mart Street. Sponsored by the United Steelworkers 1-425.