The City of Lloydminster lowered flags and took a moment of silence as staff and community partners gathered in the spring sunshine to honour the memory of those who were lost due to workplace injury.
Councilor Aaron Buckingham pointed out that in Alberta, 161 lives were lost on the job last year and 39 people perished from workplace related incidents in Saskatchewan.
Buckingham said he found that number to “be staggering and as a nation and a community, we grieve.”
The windy spring morning was the only sound that filled the air as the flags were lowered and the gathering paused to reflect, remember and honour those who had passed.
John Stevens, the city’s safety officer says when it comes to the National Day of Mourning, we all have a role to play in preventing workplace incidents.
“It’s a sombre day. We know that people’s lives have been lost. It allows us to reaffirm our commitment to ensure that we provide safe workplaces and do everything that we possibly can to prevent these terrible incidents from occurring.”
April 28 is set aside to honour those lives lost, or suffered injury or illness on the job, and also those who experienced a work-related tragedy. The date was chosen as it was on that day in 1914 that Ontario passed the Workers’ Compensation Act. In 1991, an Act of parliament recognized the first National Day of Mourning in Canada.
Stevens underscores the importance of safety in Lloydminster as he reflects on the local effort to support safe workspaces.
“We are very fortunate in the Lloydminster area that we have a really good community that is really focussed on providing safe workplaces and working in a safe manner. It really is a community effort where everyone comes together and recognizes the importance of safety in the community and where no one is ever questioned for taking the time to do their work in the safe and proper manner.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety notes that there have been over 277,000 claims reported and accepted in 2021 by compensation boards across the country. In going beyond the numbers, they reflect that in each case, the lives of co-workers, families and friends are deeply impacted and forever changed.