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Pulp and paper companies pay tribute on National Day of Mourning


April 28, 2020
By P&PC Staff

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Today, on the National Day of Mourning, pulp and paper mills are joining Canadians in paying tribute to workers who have died, were injured or made ill from their work.

“At Mercer, we remain committed to protecting workers and preventing workplace tragedies by creating safe working environments,” Mercer International said in a statement shared on its LinkedIn page. “Together, we can do this.”

“Today is an important reminder of our highest workplace priority – keeping one another safe on the job and ensuring everyone goes home safe,” J.D. Irving, Limited said in a social media post.

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The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is also acknowledging the sacrifices of front-line and essential workers who have died or become ill serving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Apr. 28, the Canadian flag flies at half-mast on Parliament Hill and all federal government buildings.

Traditionally, employers and workers have observed the National Day of Mourning by lighting candles, laying wreaths, or wearing commemorative pins, ribbons or black armbands.

In light of COVID-19, CCOHS encouraged organizations, communities, and individuals to pause for a moment of silence at 11 a.m. and to consider holding, attending or supporting a virtual event.

According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), in 2018, 1,027 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada (an increase of 76 from the previous year).

There were 264,438 accepted claims (an increase of 12,930 from the past year) for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease, including 33,058 from workers aged 15-24.

These statistics only include what is reported and accepted by the compensation boards.

The Day of Mourning, passed by the government of Canada in 1991, has since spread to about 100 countries around the world. It is recognized as Workers’ Memorial Day and as International Workers’ Memorial Day by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).