April 28, 2022

Sisters and Brothers,

On April 28th, please join with us in remembering our fallen Sisters and Brothers who have been killed, injured, or suffered illness as a result of work-related incidents.

We also honour the families and friends who have been deeply affected by these tragedies. In addition to remembrance, we must all take this opportunity to renew our never-ending commitment to health and safety and continue the fight to end these senseless tragedies.

TCRC is committed to advocating for improved safety

In Canada, each year over 900 workers are killed and over 250,000 claims are filed for lost time injuries/diseases according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada. All accidents are preventable and the TCRC is committed to advocating for improved safety to put an end to these senseless tragedies.

The National Day of Mourning commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents. In 1985, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) declared April 28th as an annual day of remembrance and in December 1990, parliament passed the Workers Mourning Day Act proclaiming April 28th an official Workers’ Mourning Day.

Since its inception, the observance has spread to over 80 countries around the world but is known in most other countries as the Workers’ Memorial Day. In 2001, the International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, observed this date as World Day for Safety and Health at Work. April 28th was chosen because on that date in 1914 the first Workers Compensation Act in Canada became law.

The Canadian flag on Parliament Hill will be flown at half-mast and workers around the country will observe this day by lighting candles, donning ribbons and black armbands, and observing moments of silence.

We will be requesting that the carriers acknowledge the Day of Mourning by issuing a bulletin and providing our members the opportunity to observe a moment of silence where operational duties allow.

Importantly this year’s National Day of Mourning marks the first time we can once again gather in person and show our respect and honor our fallen Sisters and Brothers.

Members are encouraged if able to attend in person events throughout all major cities in Canada to honor those who have lost their lives as a result of their jobs in the preceding year.

As we all journey together through the end of the worldwide pandemic this years National Day of Mourning highlights our need to refocus our commitment to prevent future workplace injuries and deaths.

The National Day of Mourning reinforces the need for all of us to defend our basic rights at work that are protected in health and safety statutes in every jurisdiction in Canada.

Those three basic rights are:

  1. Right to know about the hazards in their workplace and receive the training they need to be able to do their jobs safely.

  2. Right to participate in decisions that could affect their health and safety.

  3. Right to refuse work that could endanger their health and safety or that of others. The right to refuse is not the first step to protect workers. This is a serious, sometimes necessary step that no worker takes lightly.

Although the law demands your employer provide protection from danger and hazards arising out of, linked with, or occurring in the course of employment, our membership must ensure their personal safety is protected by considering the potential consequences in every action and decision they make both on the job and at home.

As we mourn for the dead, Teamsters Rail continues to fight for the living.

Don Ashley National
National Legislative Director