WSIB hosts touching Day of Mourning ceremony attended by Minister of Labour

TORONTO, April 26, 2019 – In advance of the National Day of Mourning on Sunday, April 28, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) hosted a public ceremony this morning to remember and honour those people who have died, been injured or suffered illness in the workplace. Threads of Life families who have lost loved ones along with other WSIB stakeholders attended the event.

Speakers included Hon. Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour; Elizabeth Witmer, WSIB Chair; Tom Teahen, WSIB President and CEO; and Threads of Life testimonial speaker Renee Guay, whose father John died from mesothelioma caused by repeated exposure to airborne asbestos.

“In 2018, 228 people in Ontario died because of work,’” said Elizabeth Witmer, WSIB Chair. “Behind every one is a person – a story of their life, of how they loved and were loved by their families and friends. Only those who live with this pain can say what it really means to no longer be able to welcome your loved one home at the end of a workday. That is why we continue to focus our public awareness campaign on those who did not make the commute home.”

Every day, millions of people go to work and too many of them never make the commute home. To reinforce that message, transit vehicles across the province were wrapped in black and feature visual tributes to people who’ve died at work. An impactful video on the WSIB’s Day of Mourning website further illustrates this important

“Most of us leave for work each day without worrying too much about what might or might not happen to us,” said Tom Teahen, WSIB President and CEO. “Personal stories take us beyond the numbers and help us to understand what is at stake every time we set out for work and why the need to continuously renew our commitment to health and safety is so important.”

Various landmarks across the province will be illuminated in yellow, traditionally a colour of hope, on Sunday evening, April 28. These include: the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, the Peace Bridge, Kitchener City Hall, Guelph City Hall (Market Square), Hamilton City Hall (HAMILTON sign) and the 3D TORONTO sign in Nathan Phillips Square.

April 28 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.

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WSIB media relations