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House Statement
by the Honourable Kevin Flynn
Minister of Labour
on the Day of Mourning

  • Issued: April 28, 2014
  • Content last reviewed: April 2014

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Speaker, today— in Ontario and throughout Canada— we pause to remember workers who have been killed on the job, or who have suffered work-related injury or illness.

We lower our flags to honour friends, neighbours and loved ones whose lives have been lost or affected by workplace incidents — incidents that are almost always foreseeable and preventable.

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

It is a day of remembrance— and it is a day when all of us must strengthen our resolve to ensure that the sacrifices of fallen workers and their families are not in vain.

Our government has almost doubled the number of workplace health and safety inspectors in this province.

Since 2003, the number of work-related traumatic injuries in Ontario has declined by 30 per cent.

But we know that we need to prevent injuries before they happen, and that’s why we appointed Ontario’s first ever Chief Prevention Officer.

And we are increasing our efforts to ensure that all workers know their rights and responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

We are especially mindful of newcomers, and others whose first languages are not English or French. That’s why we provide workplace health workplace safety information in a number of different languages.

We conduct annual health and safety blitzes in a variety of sectors and industries to ensure that workers are safe on the job.

For example, to protect young workers, Ministry of Labour health and safety inspectors will conduct inspections in workplaces where students and young people typically have summer jobs.

These efforts are part of our newly-integrated strategy to promote healthy and safe workplaces by:

  • Assisting Ontario’s most vulnerable workers, such as recent immigrants and young people
  • Supporting occupational health and safety improvements in small businesses, and
  • Addressing workplace hazards that are known to be severe and fairly widespread.

We’re making good progress.

We know that falls from heights are a major cause of fatalities and injuries, so the ministry is consulting widely on the implementation of Working at Heights training standards.

We are conducting a comprehensive mining safety review in consultation with mining stakeholders, especially employers and workers, to further improve the health and well-being of workers in that sector.

And since October 2012, all provincially regulated workplaces have been required to display a poster outlining the rights and responsibilities of workers, supervisors and employers on the job.

And, as of July 1st, 2014, all workers and supervisors must be trained in workplace health and safety awareness. Together we must strive to build a strong culture of health and safety in the workplace, one that focuses on injury and illness prevention.

That is what my ministry is doing, and we’re reaching out to all Ontarians for help.

Whenever our province is faced with adversity, we see Ontarians step up and work together for the greater good.

Whether it’s an ice storm, a flood, or a forest fire, we are people who look out for one another. That is an important part of being an Ontarian.

Today, we ask that you don’t wait for adversity.

Today, we ask all the people of this province to commit to taking every possible measure to prevent work-related injury and illness, so that Ontario workers – all Ontario workers – get home safe and sound at the end of each day.

Speaker, shortly we will observe a moment of silence for those who have suffered workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in our province.

Let us pay our respects and honour their memories.

And let us renew that commitment to one another to ensure a future free of workplace injury and illness.

Thank you.