New poll shows Ontarians know their right to refuse unsafe work as we mark National Day of Mourning

90% of Ontarians say they know they have the right to refuse unsafe work

Special commemoration to be broadcast on evening newscasts across Ontario tonight

CN Tower and Niagara Falls among landmarks to be lit in yellow

TORONTO, April 28, 2022 – On this year’s National Day of Mourning, a new poll shows Ontarians know their right to refuse unsafe work and most are taking the necessary action to address safety concerns. 

According to the Leger poll* 90% of respondents said they were aware of their right to refuse unsafe work. When asked what they would do if they had a safety concern at work, 63% said they would raise the concern with management. 

“As we mark the National Day of Mourning, it is good to see that people are thinking about health and safety in the workplace,” says Jeffery Lang, President and CEO of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). “We can help Ontario businesses to create a safety plan that everyone knows and follows.”

Today’s Day of Mourning is the third during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Last year in Ontario there were 319 work-related deaths recorded, including 86 related to COVID-19. 

To commemorate those who have lost their lives because of work and to honour the loved ones left behind, the WSIB has created a Day of Mourning awareness campaign, which has been shared via radio, social media, and its website. The campaign will culminate tonight with various landmarks across the province being illuminated in yellow, including the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, London City Hall, Hamilton City Hall, and the 3D Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square. 

A special two-minute Day of Mourning commemoration will also be broadcast to over 800,000 Ontarians during the evening newscasts (approx. 6.p.m. EST) on television stations across Ontario including CTV, Global, CITY channels as well as CHCH. It features five Ontarians who have lost loved ones.

“We are doing everything we can to amplify the message that almost every workplace fatality can be prevented and everyone deserves to arrive home safely,” says Lang. “We keep working towards a day when we can report zero workplace fatalities.”

April 28th was chosen as the date for the National Day of Mourning in 1984, when the Canadian Labour Congress proclaimed the Day to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the day the first Ontario Workers’ Compensation Act was approved by the government. The Day of Mourning was enshrined in national legislation by an Act of Parliament on February 1, 1991.


For media inquiries, please contact:
WSIB media relations

*This survey, commissioned by WSIB Ontario, was conducted using Leger’s online panel between April 15 and April 17, 2022 with 1,001 adult Ontarians. Leger estimates a probable margin of error of ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20.