The National Day of Mourning, or Workers’ Mourning Day is observed in Canada on 28 April. It commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and occupational exposures.
In December 1990, this day became a national observance in Canada with the passing of the Workers Mourning Day Act, so that on April 28, 1991, it was officially the National Day of Mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace; making April 28, an official Workers’ Mourning Day.
Injuries and deaths in the workplace continue to be a matter of important concern across Canada. Many Canadians members work hard each day in an effort to minimize accidents and incidents. Risk is an inherent element of many jobs, and this is why safety should be one of the core values in any workplace. Since its inception, the observance has spread to over 80 countries around the world, but is known is most other countries as the Workers’ Memorial Day. The date 28 April was picked because on that day in 1914, the Workers Compensation Act received its third reading. In 2001 the International Labour Organization first observed World Day for Safety and Health at Work on this day. Commemorating those who have been hurt or killed in the workplace shows respect for the fallen, while serving as a reminder of the importance of occupational health and safety.
The Canadian flag is flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on all federal government buildings, including on Parliament Hill. Workers and employees observe this day in various ways including lighting candles, donning ribbons and black armbands, and observing a moment of silence at 1100 hrs. The purpose of Day of Mourning is twofold- to remember and honour those lives lost or injured and to renew the commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace – to prevent further deaths, injuries and diseases from work.