Statement: National Day of Mourning 2024 | The Ontario Federation of Labour

Statement: National Day of Mourning 2024

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) solemnly commemorates those who have been lost to workplace injury, illness and disease, joining in the shared grief of their families, co-workers and all those impacted by a workplace fatality. Today, the OFL renews its commitment to a future free from work-related fatalities, advocating for the safety of every worker and the enforcement of health and safety laws, in every workplace. 

On the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Westray Law, which imposes criminal liability on corporations for workplace injuries and fatalities, we still must continue to remind Police Chiefs in Ontario of their duty to investigate every workplace death, with a Westray lens.

2023 was a deadly year for Ontario workers, with 269 workplace deaths recorded, a figure that does not include unreported incidents or those who died after receiving permanent disability pensions from WSIB. It is clear that more must be done to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the workers of our province. 

Today, the OFL, in partnership with the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG), has introduced an Injured Worker Bill of Rights to outline the minimum rights that the provincial government must guarantee to ensure just, fair, and non-discriminatory treatment for injured workers. The OFL will be organizing and lobbying to improve the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Our first step is to change the law so that it recognizes the hazards of Heat Stress in workplaces across the province.

In this moment of shared mourning, the OFL finds hope. Hope for a future where every worker returns home safely at the end of the day. Today, we mourn for the dead, and we commit to fight for the living, for justice, and the dignity of injured workers. Every worker.