In 1991 the federal government officially recognized the National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, eight years after the Canadian Labour Congress launched the day of remembrance.
The date 28 April was picked because on that day in 1914, the Workers Compensation Act received its third reading in Ontario. In 2001 the International Labour Organization first observed World Day for Safety and Health at Work on this day. The Day of Mourning has since spread to about 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
The Day of Mourning commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents.
In 2021, 1081 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada according to the statistics from the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada.
The purpose of Day of Mourning is twofold- to remember and honour those lives lost or injured and to renew the commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace – to prevent further deaths, injuries and diseases from work.
The April 28th Monuments are often inscribed with the words “Fight for the Living, Mourn for the Dead” It is a day to honour the dead, but also a day that reminds us of the need to protect the living. In Ottawa, the monument is at Vincent Massey Park.