Day of Mourning commemorates the loss of 181 workers in B.C. last year

ON Friday, April 28, British Columbia is observing the National Day of Mourning, a day to remember and honour workers who lost their lives due to work-related incidents or occupational diseases.
Workplace injuries and illnesses claimed the lives of 181 B.C. workers last year, an increase from 161 in 2021.
  • Occupational disease was the number one killer of workers in 2022, claiming the lives of 107 workers, with 61 of those deaths resulting from asbestos exposure.
  • A total of 48 workers died from a traumatic injury last year, such as falls from elevation, struck by objects, caught in equipment and/or machinery.
  • Motor vehicle incidents claimed the lives of 26 workers in 2022.
  • Five young workers died in 2022, highlighting the importance of protecting the most vulnerable members of the workforce.
  • Workplace injuries and illnesses also resulted in about 4-million lost days of work in 2022.
The National Day of Mourning, which began in Canada in 1984, is now observed in over 100 countries worldwide. It serves as a reminder of the importance of workplace safety and the need to prevent work-related injuries and fatalities.
Many students across the province are taking part in the Day of Mourning B.C. Schools Project. In its eighth year, this year’s theme is “My job, my right to participate.”
Premier David Eby said: “Today, on the National Day of Mourning, we remember and honour the 181 British Columbians who tragically lost their lives last year due to work-related incidents or occupational diseases. As we mourn their passing, let us also renew our efforts to create safer working environments, protect the most vulnerable workers, and prevent further tragedies from occurring. Together, we can realize a future where every person can be safe and secure on the job.”
Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, said: “As we reflect on the tragedy of lives lost or forever changed by workplace injury and illness, I offer my deepest condolences to those who have lost a loved one, colleague or friend and to those who continue to suffer from illness or injury caused by their work. Today, we recommit to creating an enduring culture of safety in workplaces, strengthening standards and enforcement, and fully supporting all those impacted by these tragedies.”
Sussanne Skidmore, President, BC Federation of Labour, said: “This day reminds us all that workers’ lives and safety should never be sacrificed as the cost of doing business, and that those responsible for workplace death and injury must be held to account. There is no right more important for working people than the right to come home at the end of their working day — as safe and healthy as when they left.”
Anne Naser, President and CEO, WorkSafeBC, said: “As we gather to mourn today, let us keep in mind that behind each statistic lies a real person whose life was tragically cut short or altered forever by a work-related incident, illness, or disease. We all have a responsibility to make British Columbia’s workplaces safer. Employers must exemplify leadership for safety, and work hand in hand with their workers, involving them in decisions that affect their health and safety. Only by making safety a personal value where each worker and employer makes a conscious decision to proactively identify hazards and control risks in the workplace can we build a culture of health and safety in B.C. One small step at a time, by focused and determined leadership, will we see a transformative shift in workplace culture, which will result in healthier and safer workplaces, and more importantly, lives saved.”