Statement on National Day of Mourning

Friends, today marks the National Day of Mourning. On April 28, we remember. We take time to reflect and pay our respects to workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness from work-related incidents.

As we observe the Day of Mourning, I recognize this subject will be personal for many HSAA members. As we reflect on lives lost, we need to remember the work-related deaths that impacted our fellow members in the past year. Whether it was a tragedy on the job or a cumulation of the mental or physical impacts of workplace hazards, we lost far, far too many HSAA members this past year.

We are all linked in the work we do as a family of dedicated professionals, and these tragedies have a far-reaching impact. If this day brings up difficult memories or feelings, I encourage you to take time to support each other — talk to others about how you’re feeling or reach out for support. Don’t forget you have access to mental health benefits, including the new critical incident language added in many collective agreements, which guarantees that operational needs cannot be prioritized over members’ mental health after a critical incident. We need to re-commit to working as a union to create a culture of safety and prevention.

Our union will always hold employers and the government accountable for their responsibility in upholding standards and providing you with a safe work environment.

As unionized workers, we are empowered through our collective agreements and hard-won legislation to actively participate in health and safety. Knowing your rights and using your voice to defend them to prevent unsafe work and advocate for better is how we continually honor those who lost their lives on the job.

Creating safer workplaces starts with you. Get involved in your health and safety committee or find out who your reps are, get to know your rights, and use any tools available to you – including your voice.

On this Day of Mourning, please join me in taking a moment to honour those we’ve lost and commit to fighting for safer workplaces for all workers

In Solidarity,