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Premier’s, minister’s statements on the National Day of Mourning

April 28, 2024 at 7:52 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Premier David Eby has issued the following statement in recognition of the National Day of Mourning:

“The National Day of Mourning is a time to honour workers who have been killed or have suffered injury or illness on the job. It is an opportunity for all of us to recommit to eliminating workplace tragedies.

“No work-related injury or loss of life is acceptable. Yet, last year, 175 people in B.C. died just for doing their jobs.

“I think of the brave firefighters who lost their lives during last year’s record-breaking wildfire season. I think of the mother of two who died in a crane accident in Vancouver. And I think of all the people whose lives have been forever changed by a workplace injury or the loss of a loved one on the job.

“Every death is an outrage; every loss is profound. To the friends, family and colleagues who have lost someone: We stand with you in your grief.

“It is critical that we continue to work toward a future without job-related injury or death, and it’s why our government has taken steps to better protect the health and safety of workers.

“Earlier this year, we brought in new rules to enhance safety for workers doing asbestos removals, transportation and disposal, making B.C. the first jurisdiction in Canada to require that asbestos-abatement contractors who operate in B.C. are licensed.

“We made changes to the Workers Compensation Act to give people injured at work better supports, and we have changed the law to make it easier for workers to organize at work and have more say in workplace safety. In order to protect young workers, we brought in new regulations to ensure that certain jobs require a minimum age of 18, such as logging and jobs in smelters and oil drilling.

“Because work-related injury and illnesses are not always physical, we introduced a mental-health presumption for workers’ compensation claims for certain professions. This recognition fast tracks the claims process so that people suffering from work-related trauma have easier access to supports and compensation for those illnesses once a formal diagnosis has been made.

“Every worker has the right to a safe and healthy workplace, which includes the right to refuse unsafe work.

“As we remember those we have lost, we must also resolve to ensure that everyone in every job is protected from harm in their workplace.”

Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, said:

“Today, on the National Day of Mourning, I join people across B.C. and Canada in remembering and honouring those who did not return home safely from work.

“Today and every day, my thoughts are with those who have lost a loved one, a colleague or a friend, and with those who continue to suffer from illness or injury caused by their work.

“As the minister of labour, I am deeply aware of the risks and hazards that workers can encounter on the job, and my top priority since Day 1 is to make workplaces across B.C. as safe as possible.

“Together with WorkSafeBC, we continue to strengthen the prevention and enforcement of health and safety rules at workplaces throughout B.C. This solemn day reminds us that we have more work to do to keep workers safe and we remain committed to doing everything we can to ensure people go home to their family at the end of the day – healthy and whole.”

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