April 28,2024
International Day of Mourning

3 Canadian workers will be killed or die as a result of occupational disease TODAY

National Day of Mourning

Each year, on April 28th, people worldwide come together to observe the National Day of Mourning. This day serves a dual purpose: to commemorate and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives or suffered injuries due to their work, and to reaffirm the commitment to preventing future fatalities, injuries, and illnesses by enhancing workplace health and safety measures.

April 28th is marked in various ways across the globe. Numerous labor organizations, unions, families, communities, and government agencies organize public events that encompass speeches, moments of silence, the laying of wreaths and flowers, candle lighting, tree planting, monument unveilings, balloon releases, and symbolic gestures such as placing empty shoes or hard hats to represent those lost in workplace accidents. Some activities also include advocacy efforts on pertinent issues, public demonstrations, or educational sessions aimed at raising awareness about occupational health and safety.

Individuals show their support by wearing ribbons, black armbands, bracelets, or stickers. Workers on water vessels, trains, or transport trucks often sound their whistles or horns at 11:00 am as a tribute to the day. Additionally, the Canadian flag at Parliament Hill is typically flown at half-mast, mirroring similar gestures in other communities worldwide.



According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, nationally:
• Every year, approximately 1000 workers die.
• Every day, nearly 3 workers die.
• Every year, workers suffer from 250,000 work-related injuries/diseases.
• Every day, workers suffer from 685 work-related injuries/diseases.

More people die each year because of work than because of fighting in wars.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), across the world:
• Every year, more than 2.3 million workers die
• Every day, 6,300 workers die
• Every year, workers suffer from 317 million work-related injuries
• Every day, workers suffer from 870,000 work-related injuries
• Every year, workers suffer from 160 million non-fatal occupational diseases
• Every day, workers suffer from 440,000 non-fatal occupational diseases
Of these fatalities, reportedly 2.02 million workers died as a result of occupational disease.

Around the world, every 15 seconds…
• 1 worker dies
• 151 work-related injuries are reported
• 76 non-fatal occupational diseases are reported

The Day of Mourning holds a significant place in Canadian labor history. At the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) convention in 1984, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) National Health and Safety Committee proposed a resolution advocating for the establishment of a day to honor workers who lost their lives or were injured on the job. This resolution found unanimous support among convention delegates. April 28th was selected as the date for this remembrance, as it marks the passage of the first comprehensive workers’ compensation act in the legislature back in 1914.

Officially recognized by the CLC on April 28, 1985, the National Day of Mourning has since become a vital part of Canada’s labor calendar. Since its inception, over 25,000 workers have tragically lost their lives due to work-related incidents or illnesses.

In December 1990, after persistent lobbying efforts by Canadian unions and the NDP, the federal government enacted Bill C-223, establishing April 28, 1991, as the inaugural government-recognized National Day of Mourning. The legislation succinctly states:

“Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the 28th day of April shall be known under the name of Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace.”

This initiative resonated beyond Canadian borders. In 1989, the American Federation of Labor designated April 28th as Workers’ Memorial Day in the United States. The campaign to recognize this day also gained momentum in the United Kingdom (UK), with the Scottish Trade Union Congress (TUC) embracing Workers’ Memorial Day in 1993, followed by the UK TUC in 1999 and the UK Health and Safety Commission in 2000.

Further international recognition came from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC), which jointly declared April 28th as the International Day of Mourning in 1996. This global movement underscores the dual imperative to honor the departed while steadfastly advocating for the safety and well-being of the living.

The Right to Know

Workers have the Right to Know about any potential hazards in the workplace. You have a right to training and information on machinery, equipment, working conditions, processes and hazardous substances.

The Right to Participate

Workers have the Right to Participate in the process of identifying and resolving workplace health and safety concerns. They participate through worker membership on Joint Health and Safety Committees and reporting concerns to their supervisor or employer. Workers also have the Right to Participate in workplace inspections and investigations.

The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

Workers have the Right to Refuse work they believe is dangerous to their own health and safety or to another worker. The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work is one of the few exceptions to the “work now, grieve later” rule in labour relations.

The Right to Worker Protection in Relation to Prohibited Action

You cannot be fired or disciplined for participating in Health and Safety activities.

Prohibited Action Defined:

  • Suspension, lay-off, or dismissal
  • Demotion or loss of opportunity for promotion
  • Transfer of duties, reduction in wages
  • Coercion or intimidation
  • Discipline, reprimand
Hundreds will be seriously injured or made ill because of work today


National Work Injury, Disease and Fatality Statistics

The Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada produces this annual report, which provides national statistics on work-related Fatalities and Lost Time Claim compensation for injuries and diseases. These statistics reflect any WCB-accepted Fatality, Lost Time Claim for injury resulting from a work-related event or exposure to a noxious substance, or for a disease stemming from work environment conditions.

Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada

The country’s 12 provincial and territorial boards and commissions supply data to AWCBC’s National Work Injury Statistics Program. These figures encompass 20 major industrial groups and 10 subset categories. The scope of coverage varies across jurisdictions.


National Work Injury/Disease Statistics Program (NWISP)

Data on work-related, accepted Lost Time Claims, Diseases and Fatalities across 20 major industrial groups and sorts it into 10 subset categories.

Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada

This program supports the collection of work related accepted time loss injury, disease and fatality statistics. This fact sheet gives an overview of the NWISP program and lists statistics available.


2020 Annual Report

The data reported in this publication comes from the Employer's Annual Hazardous Occurrence Report (EAHOR) submitted by federally regulated employers to the Labour Program. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations under the Canada Labour Code require employers that subject to federal jurisdiction submit the EAHOR each year by March 1 for the period from January 1 to December 31 of the preceding calendar year.

Occupational Injuries in the Canadian Federal Jurisdiction

  • In 2020, there were notable decreases in the total number of injuries, as well as in DIFR and FIFR values. The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and related public health measures may largely explain these changes
  • There was a total of 37,024 injuries (disabling injuries, fatal injuries and minor injuries) reported in 2020, 21.7% decrease from 2019 (47,299)
  • Of the total number of injuries in 2020, 15,799 (42.7%) were disabling injuries, 49 (0.1%) were fatal injuries and 21,176 (57.2%) were minor injuries. All 3 types of injuries declined from 2019
  • The 2020 DIFR for the federal jurisdiction is 7.29. This is a drop of 22.4% compared to the 2019 DIFR (9.39). It is the lowest DIFR recorded to date


2021 Report on Work Fatality and Injury Rates in Canada

dian workers compensation boards reported that 925 workers died due to work related causes in 2019.

University of Regina

Canadian workers compensation boards reported that 925 workers died due to work-related causes in 2019. This report provides a jurisdictional comparison of work-related injury and fatality rates in Canada between 2015 and 2019 using data from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC).

A comparison of fatality rates is important for identifying trends over time both within and between provinces and territories.

Job-related fatalities are classified as injury (e.g., death due to job-related electrocution) or occupational disease related (e.g., death from mesothelioma due to work-related exposure to asbestos).



Day of Mourning Poster

Download our Day of Mourning Infographic

Print and Display in Your Workplace

According to the ILO, 6,000 workers die on the job every day. Download Now

What's Your Company Doing?

On April 28, Canada and many countries around the world will celebrate an official Day of Mourning to commemorate those workers who suffered work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities. It’s also a perfect time for individual companies to remember those who’ve been injured or killed on the job and to note the importance of workplace safety. So what is your company doing to mark this important date’

Scary Statistics

I have no idea what your schedule looks like for Wednesday, but I strongly urge you to ensure it allows for some reflection. Take a moment to pause and think about why you do what you do. I promise, you won’t be alone. That’s because Friday, April 28, 2023, is the International Day of Mourning in which countries around the world commemorate the workers who died on the jo

Reflect on the Workers Lost on This National Day of Mourning

Sadly, there were no fewer than 1081 such victims in Canada in 2021, the latest year for which we have full statistics from workers compensation boards across the country. And those are just the victims we know about. The actual body count is probably significantly higher if you could factor in all the fatalities that go unreported. LINK