Friday, April 28, 2023
April 28 is a solemn occasion for AMAPCEO and for workers, other unions, and labour organizations across the country– it is the National Day of Mourning, the day we come together to commemorate those that became ill or injured, or lost their lives, in the workplace.
It also provides all workers with a poignant reminder of the social contract we have to protect one another in the workplace.
In the nearly forty years since this day was first established in Canada by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984, some threats to workplace safety may have changed, but our commitment as the labour movement to ensuring the health and safety of all workers has remained steadfast.
The fight for worker safety has always happened at multiple levels: in the workplace, by identifying issues and ensuring workers remain safe until they are resolved, to the political sphere, where labour has advocated for legislation that puts workers’ safety first.
Ensuring our members are safe and protected at work is AMAPCEO’s priority. We have Health, Safety and Wellness Representatives in every workplace, who are trained to act on behalf of their colleagues to address and improve health and safety conditions at work. AMAPCEO members can also read their bargaining unit’s fact sheet to familiarize themselves with their right to refuse unsafe work.
In the political arena, AMAPCEO has consistently called on the provincial government to legislate paid sick days for all workers in this province. We believe the lack of paid sick leave is one of the greatest health and safety concerns workplaces face today. Ontario’s Employment Standards Act must be modernized to afford every worker the right to take the time they need to heal and recover from illness or injury without having to sacrifice their income.
This year, as every year, we mourn for those who lost their lives or suffered illness or injury as a result of their work. We also take this day to remind ourselves that the fight for workplace safety is not over – and that though we have safeguards and paid sick leave in our workplaces, not all others do.
What we want for ourselves, we should want for everyone.