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Statement To The Legislature
By The Honourable Linda Jeffrey
Minister of Labour
Regarding The Day Of Mourning

  • Issued: April 26, 2012
  • Content last reviewed: April 2012

Speaker, this April 28th will be a solemn day here in Ontario.

The 28th is the day we pause and remember workers who have been killed or injured on the job.

It is the official day of mourning.

This weekend people across the province will gather in ceremonies held in city squares and at union halls.

Flags will be lowered to half-mast to honour loved ones, co-workers, and friends.

Heads will be bowed.

Since the 1980s the Ontario government has recognized the Day of Mourning.

It is a day recognized in cities across Canada and in 80 countries around the world.

But it is much more than a day of remembrance.

It is a day when we re-affirm our commitment to do whatever we can to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses.

It is a day to remember those we have lost and to acknowledge those who are injured, but it is also a day to renew our resolve to fight for the living.

To work towards a brighter future where we eliminate workplace hazards.

In 2010, 57 people in Ontario lost their lives due to an injury on the job.

No one should fear that when they leave for work in the morning they may not return at the end of the day safe and sound.

In 2010, over 184,000 people in this province suffered lost-time injuries or illnesses as a result of their work.

There were many of course who were able to recover and returned to their job.

And we give thanks for this.

But others were not so lucky.

Their injuries and illnesses changed their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, forever.

Tragically workplace injuries and illnesses have a serious, and at times, lasting impact on families.

The numbers I cited Speaker are not mere statistics, they are human lives, they are our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbours.

That's why all of us must continue to fight on to protect Ontario workers, and their families.

Since 2003 we have significantly lowered the rate of workplace injury in this province.

One of the reasons for that Speaker is that since 2003 our government has nearly doubled the number of Ministry of Labour health and safety inspectors in this province.

And there are other important steps we have taken to ensure a safer, healthier future for Ontario workers.

One was the creation and passage of Bill 160, which amended the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and allows us to better manage and align Ontario's workplace health and safety system.

Another step taken was our appointment of a New Chief Prevention Officer to better coordinate and focus our efforts and those of our health and safety partners.

This means that health and safety enforcement and prevention will be under the same roof for the first time.

Our new Chief Prevention Officer will work to help ensure all Ontarians know their rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act.

And to protect young workers the Ministry of Labour health and safety inspectors will conduct inspections in workplaces students and young people go to for summer jobs.

Tomorrow I will be in Guelph to announce a province-wide safety blitz targeting our new and young workers.

We've done these things, and we are committed to doing more.

But we can't do this alone.

Together all of us must work to build a strong safety culture, a culture of prevention, in our province's workplaces.

Together we can prevent workplace deaths and injuries.

Speaker in a few days we'll observe a moment of silence for those who have suffered in workplace incidents.

This Saturday, April 28, I will ask all the people of this province, including both employees and employers to stop and ask themselves if every step is being taken to prevent an injury in their workplace.

Workplace health and safety is everyone's responsibility.

So let us, every one of us, re-dedicate ourselves to making sure Ontario workers go home safe and sound at the end of their day.

We owe the working people of this province nothing less.

Thank you.