Casualties of work
Day of Mourning set for April 28
by Jeff Colbourne
NNSL (Apr 22/98) - It is time again to remember those who have lost their life in the workplace.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada and The NWT Federation of Labor are gearing up for the annual Day of Mourning on April 28.
The occasion, recognized by all three governments, is an opportunity to pay tribute to workers killed or injured in the workplace.
"To me, the people who create the wealth of this country are the workers and they are doing just as legitimate a battle as soldiers on the front lines," said Jean-Francois Des Lauriers, regional vice-president of PSAC North.
"When our people go to war and get killed, we go all out to recognize their contribution to defending our country. It only stands to reason that our government and leaders of this country should do the same when it comes to workers killed or injured in the workplace."
The Federation of Labor will honor four individuals killed in the workplace since April 28 of last year: Joshua Amitnaaq, Corey Bradbury, Jim Dyck and Aiyow Qauavauq.
They will also make special mention of the loss of Jim Evoy of the Federation who passed away suddenly last July. Dave Johnston, past president of the federation who died on Good Friday, will also be remembered.
The Canadian Labor Congress recognizes on the job accidents as a huge problem in this country.
It continually pressures government to put in place more stringent legislation to enforce employers to recognize the risks and provide a safer workplace, said Des Lauriers.
In 1997, 3,389 claims for injuries were made, down slightly from 3,866 the previous year. This number does not include federal employees who must file claims through Edmonton's Worker's Compensation Board.
On April 28, Des Lauriers would like people to think about a number of things to show respect.
"They should think about the fact that there's people who every day are losing their life at their work. They should think of the impact on people's families, They should think of their own workplaces .... and what could be hazards and the personal impact it would have if somebody was killed."