The Honourable Lisa Raitt,
Minister of Labour
the Nation Day of Mourning
April 28, 2010
Good morning. Today is a day of significance for all Canadians, as we gather here at Vincent Massey Park to remember workers who have lost their lives or have been injured on the job.
On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my sympathies to Canadian families and friends who have lost loved ones on the job. No words can take away their sorrow.
The best way to pay tribute to those we remember today is to continue to strive for safer and healthier workplaces through continued education, cooperation and action.
We all have a responsibility to ensure workplace safety. Employers, unions and governments must continue to raise awareness of occupational hazards, inform workers of their rights and support them to always work safely.
To this end, we must also extend our actions to the issue of workplace safety and youth. We know that young people may be more likely to underestimate risks, especially in large operations.
And when they first enter the workplace, students may be much less likely to challenge a supervisor if a work situation seems hazardous.
So we have to make sure collectively that when our sons and our daughters—in my case, my sons—first enter the labour market, they’re provided with safe work environments, and they’re aware of their right to speak if they feel the workplace presents a danger.
Safe, healthy workplaces benefit all of us, and our government is committed to work with parents, employers, and unions to ensure that we first and foremost protect the personal safety of our citizens.
With the importance of health and safety in mind, next week will mark North American Occupational Safety and Health Week—whose theme for this year is “How Safe Are You?” Events are being held throughout North America, and I encourage you to be a part of activities in your area.
I would like to commend the Canadian Labour Congress and the Ottawa District Labour Council for organizing the National Day of Mourning ceremony every year. It is with continued commitment such as yours that we can make some progress at reducing workplace injuries.
The National Day of Mourning reminds us of the need to redouble our efforts to ensure that all Canadians can return home safe and sound after their work day.
I am honoured to be a part of today’s ceremonies.
Thank you for inviting me.