Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

April 27, 2010 10:11 ET

OFL-Toronto Day of Mourning April 28: "Kill a Worker, Go to Jail"-the Only Way to Stop the Carnage

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 27, 2010) - Hundreds of workers, friends and families of those killed and injured on the job will gather at 12 noon, Wednesday, April 28, at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, to commemorate the labour movement's most solemn occasion - the annual Day of Mourning, and to call for the vigorous use of the Criminal Code of Canada provision that enables prosecution of corporate executives, directors and managers who act wrongfully or negligently.

The pivotal role of Bill C-45, also known as the Westray Bill, in preventing deaths and injuries will be poignantly expressed with a sea of messages declaring: "Kill a worker, go to jail" as the most important solution to reductions in workplace fatalities and injuries.

"Twenty-six years ago, in Canada, we mourned the loss of fewer workers than we do today. Mothers, fathers, children, friends and neighbours have endured the worst tragedies imaginable as the relentless drive for profits has been allowed to take precedence over the health and safety of workers. We must not permit one more company to ignore its obligation," says OFL President Sid Ryan.

In the six years since Bill C-45 was passed it was unused in Ontario, yet more than 400 workers have been killed on the job and nearly two million injured. Its first use finally took place in Sault Ste Marie last month. There is also an ongoing criminal investigation into the needless Christmas Eve tragedy in which four migrant workers plunged 13 stories to their deaths when their scaffolding broke apart. The fifth worker barely survived with extensive injuries. The Ontario Ministry of Labour had previously visited and inspected the site. 

"Unless there is a significant price to pay, companies will not take ministry orders seriously and we will continue to lose loved ones," says Ryan.

In Ontario, in the first 2 months of 2010, there have been 86 deaths and 38,184 claims for work-related injuries and diseases reported to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board; in 2009, there were 479 fatality claims and 253,761 injuries and disease claims

The number of people killed at work each year in Canada has risen for the past 15 years. This is in contrast to almost every Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development country where the incidence of workplace fatalities is declining.

In 1991, the Parliament of Canada declared April 28 the National Day of Mourning. Every year since, unions, labour councils, families and community partners gather by the thousands to "mourn for the dead and fight for the living." What began through the efforts of Canada's labour movement is now observed in more than 100 countries.

Oksana Afanasenko, the widow of Aleksey Bloomberg who was killed last Dec. 24, will be a speaker at the Toronto event and sole survivor Dilshod Marupov will also be in attendance.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Sid Ryan
    416.209.0066 (mobile)
    OFL Communications
    Lynn Simmons
    416.803.8282 (mobile)