CSSE e-Lert:
Member Update from President of the Board

April 28 is the National Day of Mourning: Coming Together as Community

Every year, on April 28, labour and health and safety organizations observe the National Day of Mourning. This event was created to honour and remember workers who have been injured or killed on the job. It’s also a day to collectively renew our commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace.

The Day of Mourning was first proclaimed by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984. The date of April 28 was chosen because it coincided with Ontario’s enactment of the Workmen’s Compensation Act in 1914. It was enshrined in national legislation in 1991.

Since then, the Day of Mourning has spread to more than 100 countries, and is recognized as the International Workers’ Memorial Day by the International Labour Organisation and the International Trade Union Confederation.

A wide variety of events are held across the country, but the day is traditionally marked with public memorial ceremonies, by wearing black-and-yellow ribbons or pins, lighting candles, and through a moment of silence at 11 am.  

The significant impact

The University of Regina’s 2021 Report on Work Fatality and Injury Rates in Canada outlined the grim toll of work-related deaths and injury in Canada. In 2019, 925 workplace fatalities were recorded. Among these who lost their lives were 29 young workers aged 15–24.

More than 270,000 accepted claims were also recorded by workers compensation boards across the country for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease. And in 2020, there were more than 37,000 accepted injury claims and 39 fatality claims for work-related exposures to COVID-19.

These losses have a significant impact not only on workers but on their coworkers, families, friends, and communities.

CSSE and the Day of Mourning

Every day at CSSE, our members, volunteers, partners, and staff are driven by one singular goal: ensuring our colleagues make it home safe at the end of the workday. It is through the work that each of us do every day, all year long, that we strive to prevent harm. I will be participating in this important day in my own community: for those in the Edmonton area, I look forward to seeing you at the Steps for Life walk on May 14.

So many consequences flow from workplace death and injury: the loss of freedom, of income, and of self-esteem, as someone’s ability to contribute to their family and community is diminished or eliminated. And the feeling of shame: so many injury survivors have described to me how, after an injury occurs, they have felt such deep-rooted shame. These stories rattle me to the bone, spurring me to re-examine my own personal care habits and to work harder to collaborate in the push for injury reduction and health and safety reform in the workplace.

Virtual Gathering to Kick off Safety and Health Week

The national partners of  Safety and Health Week, including the CSSE, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, and Threads of Life, will officially launch the week on Monday, May 2, with a  free virtual event that is open to everyone, at 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT.

Later in the day, Syrian-Canadian entrepreneur Tareq Hadhad, founder of Peace by Chocolate, will share his emotional journey from Syria to Canada with heartbreaking and perspective-shaping stops along the way to inspire others to make their own impact on the world.

Let’s gather as a CSSE community to recognize the work we all do everyday to reach the goal of safe workplaces and communities.

CSSE Chapters are also hosting open and free webinars on a variety of topics during Safety and Health Week, and other community events.  Find out more.

New Board members

CSSE welcomes two new Board members, who were appointed in February.

Drew Douglas is a Health and Safety Supervisor at Rama First Nation on Georgian Bay, Ontario. He joins the CSSE Board after more than a decade of active involvement as a National Committee member for Education, Public Relations, and Communications, and on the Indigenous Task Force. Drew was also a 2014 Special Project chapter winner for his creation of a Prezi marketing tool to help promote the CSSE.

Paul Andre is the President and CEO of Workplace Safety North in North Bay, Ontario. He is also the past director and past chair of the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals. Paul’s other positions have included working with the Ministry of Labour’s Prevention Division as a Senior Advisor; seven years as Manager of Field Services, trainer, and CEO at the Pulp and Paper Health and Safety Association; and 10 years as a trainer at the Ontario Forestry Safe Workplace Association.

We're thrilled to have Drew and Paul on board to help us reach our priority goals in the coming months: reaching out to grow our network with new members; supporting and connecting with you; enhancing networking, mentorship, and collaboration opportunities; and advancing professional growth through a wide range of courses and professional development opportunities.


Christl Aggus
President of the Board

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