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Day of Mourning, April 28, 2022

Each year on April 28 we gather to recognize and grieve the people who have suffered workplace-related illness, injury, or death. Every single working person deserves to return home safe at the end of the day to their family and loved ones, but for too many workers, this is still not the case.

This day is especially meaningful to us as health science and community social service professionals. We are the workers who diagnose and support the rehabilitation and treatment of people who have suffered workplace injuries or illness. However, we are also among those whose health has suffered in the course of performing our jobs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid poisoning crisis.

I am always profoundly saddened as we reflect on the number of people whose lives have been impacted by illness, injury, or death sustained while at work. I think about my children, and the thought that they might be among those we recognize on this day is terrifying. That’s why I’m so proud of the work we do as union members to not just mourn these workplace tragedies, but fight with everything we have for better workplace protections for ourselves, our colleagues, and all workers in our communities.

We’ve outlined detailed concerns with the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and continued to call for N95 masks to be provided to all frontline healthcare workers to prevent COVID-19 infections. We are supporting union activists across the province to press for presumptive coverage to ensure workers whose mental health is suffering receive the care they need to heal. We have a dedicated staff team devoted to helping our colleagues with work-related disability claims. And, we are using every tool at our disposal – bargaining, public awareness campaigning, and lobbying – to address the widespread shortages that put us at risk of physical and mental injury.

When our convention begins on April 28, I ask that you join us in observing a moment of silence by tuning in to the Day of Mourning livestream at 10:30 am. Let’s remember our patients, clients, colleagues, friends and family who have been hurt or killed through their work. Then, after convention let’s continue our efforts to prevent these events from occurring so that one day, we will no longer need this sad ceremony, but will instead be able to celebrate the achievement of truly safe workplaces for all.

- Kane Tse
President, HSA

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