Dozens of Vernon residents gathered at city hall Friday morning to observe the National Day of Mourning.
The official National Day of Mourning takes place Sunday, April 28 and honours the memory of workers who have been killed, injured, or suffered illness as a result of work-related incidents.
In 2018, 131 workers in B.C. died from workplace industry injury or disease.
Many spoke Friday at Vernon’s commemoration ceremony. Among those was MP Mel Arnold, Vernon councillor Kelly Fehr, a representative from Worksafe B.C., a city worker, and a local firefighter and police officer. Some shared personal stories, most offered sympathies to those affected by any workplace injuries or deaths of loved ones; all called for action in the fight to end workplace injury and death.
“The numbers aren’t going down and we have to try harder to protect our employees because our co-workers are our families,” said Vernon RCMP superintendent Shawna Baher, who also took the time to shine a light on mental health.
“We have to recognize that not all injuries are visible and we have to take into consideration and try and protect everyone as best we can.”
The Canadian Labour Congress first recognized the Day of Mourning in 1984. In 1990, this day became a national observance with the passing of the Workers Mourning Day Act, and on April 28, 1991, the federal government officially proclaimed the national Day of Mourning.
Canada was the first nation to recognize the Day of Mourning and since 1984, acknowledgement of the day has spread and is now observed by over 100 countries acround the world.
“A workplace accident casts a broad ripple that far surpasses the immediate victim,” said Clayton Fredin, Health and Safety coordinator for the city of Vernon. “One victim is one too many.”
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