The Day of Mourning: Statement from Friends of Medicare

April 27, 2022
EDMONTON

The Day of Mourning: Statement from Friends of Medicare

Every year, on April 28, we recognize the National Day of Mourning. It is a day to commemorate workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness while at work. It serves as an annual reminder that we have a collective, societal responsibility to keep each other safe in the workplace. This is especially true as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to compromise worker safety.
 
Alberta lost 178 people to workplace injury or illness in 2021. Tens of thousands more were injured on the job. This past year saw occupational disease increase by 1/3 as a result of COVID-19 deaths, yet the Workers Compensation Board still doesn’t offer presumptive coverage to people who contracted it at work. These numbers are a stark reminder of the human cost of inaction. Even one injury is too many, let alone 178 Albertans lost.
 
There remains much work to do in Alberta to ensure safer, healthier workplaces. Our lack of robust Occupational Health and Safety and Workers Compensation systems ultimately falls onto our public health care: workplace injuries cost tens of billions of dollars to Canada’s health care systems each year. Preventing workplace injuries is crucial for the long-term health of our economy, communities and public Medicare.
 
With so many health care workers experiencing rising rates of violence in their own workplaces, addressing violence within health care is also increasingly urgent. Health care workers deserve to be safe when they show up to care for us. We need a violence-prevention plan in health care that includes a plan to address ongoing short staffing issues. Because violence is not part of the job.
 
We are now over two years into this pandemic, yet still don’t have simple solutions such as paid sick days for all workers. Instead, we have a provincial government that has been actively undermining and rolling back workplace health and safety protections under the cover of this public health crisis. Bill 47 reduced workers’ rights to know and participate in workplace health and safety, and weakened their right to refuse unsafe work.
 
Albertans deserve better. On April 28, we must take the time to mourn those who have been lost, and we must recommit to fighting for a safer, healthier Alberta for us all.

How to join in Day of Mourning Ceremonies:

Calgary:
Day of Mourning Virtual Ceremony
Thursday, April 28, 2022, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
 
Edmonton:
Day of Mourning Ceremony
Grant Notley Park 116 Street & 100 Avenue
Thursday, April 28, 2022, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.