Statement by the Minister of Labour on the National Day of Mourning

April 28, 2024        Gatineau, Quebec        Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., issued the following statement marking the National Day of Mourning:

“Everyone has the right to a safe, healthy and respectful workplace. This is a widely shared belief in Canada, but it is not yet a lived reality. Nearly one thousand people died from work-related incidents in Canada in 2022. There were more than 348,000 injuries on Canadian job sites that year. This is tragic, it is unacceptable, and it is preventable. We’ve got to do better. 

We introduced 10 days of paid sick leave in 2022 for nearly 1 million federally regulated workers across Canada. That’s a million workers who no longer need to choose between paying the bills and going to work sick. Last year, we raised the minimum age for hazardous work from 17 to 18 in all federally regulated private sector workplaces.

We led in the development of International Labour Organization Convention 190 on eliminating violence and harassment at work. With the Convention now in force in Canada, we want all workplaces free from fear and intimidation. We were able to do this because unions fought for it and employers have worked with us to get it done. We get a lot more done for workers when we work together.

One thing I have learned in my time as Minister of Labour is that Canada sets the bar when it comes to workers’ rights. When we raise that bar, countries around the world follow. Our leadership matters.

Today, Canadians remember the workers we have failed in the past. We remember the responsibility we all have – governments, unions, industry – to keep every worker safe, healthy, and respected on the job.”

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