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House Statement
by the Honourable Yasir Naqvi
Minister of Labour
on Day of Mourning

  • Issued: April 25, 2013
  • Content last reviewed: April 2013

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This April 28th is a solemn day in Ontario. We will stop to observe in sombre remembrance, workers who have been killed or injured on the job. It is our province’s official Day of Mourning.

This weekend, people across this province will gather at ceremonies in city squares, union halls and various other locations. Flags will be lowered to half-mast to honour loved ones, co-workers and friends we have lost.

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.

This year’s theme is “Remember. Our movement for change. Train for it. Work for it.”

We must remember. We must make sure workers are properly trained and we must redouble our efforts to protect workers and their families.

This is a day to re-dedicate ourselves to doing whatever it takes to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

And to honour those we have lost and to acknowledge those who are injured.

They are our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives, and our friends and neighbours. We honour the skill, dedication and commitment they brought to their jobs everyday by making sure those who follow have safer workplaces.

I am notified each and every time a worker is injured or killed in our province. This is the toughest part of my job. I remember once an accident occurred just blocks away from my house in Ottawa. No family should ever have to hear that a loved one is not coming home from work.

Thanks to the commitment of those who fight to make workplaces safer, together, we are making progress. Workplace injuries have decreased significantly over the last number of years. In construction sites, businesses, hospitals, schools and, health and safety advocates are making workplaces safer.

Our government has taken strong steps to reduce and eliminate work place injuries:

  • We have doubled the number of enforcement officers to make sure employers follow the rules,
  • We’ve brought enforcement and prevention under the purview of the Ministry of Labour – helping to make sure that injuries do not happen in the first place; and
  • We launched the first ever province-wide occupational safety strategy. It was developed with input from labour, employers, injured workers and community groups, to establish clear priorities and rules that will guide our work in the years ahead.

In addition to these measures, we continue to rollout our comprehensive safety blitzes — focused on identifying hazards before they might harm workers and ensuring employers are providing proper training for all employees.

During the summer it’s particularly important for us to protect our youth, many of whom are starting new jobs or started their first job this spring. That’s why, throughout the spring and summer, Health and Safety inspectors from the ministry, will conduct inspections in workplaces where students and young people are employed. Teaching new and young workers the value of workplace health and safety means a generation of safer employers, safer job sites and safer communities.

Remember, when it comes to health and safety, we all have a part to play. It is everyone’s responsibility.

I encourage all Ontarians to do their part to protect our province’s greatest and most precious resource: our people and our workers. Working together, we will keep lowering the injury rates in Ontario workplaces and ensure that Ontario continues to be one of the best and safest places to work in the world.

Some of you may be wearing yellow and black ribbons to commemorate the Day of Mourning this weekend. I encourage all of you to wear these ribbons. The black represents mourning; the yellow represents hope for a safer and brighter future, a future where there are no injuries, where everyone will be able to go home safe and sound and where lives are not at risk.

In a few moments, we will observe a moment of silence for all those who have suffered from a workplace incident. Let us pay our respects and honour their memories. Let us renew our commitment to ensure a future without workplace injury and illness.

We owe the hard working men and women of this province nothing less.