Single lit white candle against a blurred green background

Recognizing National Day of Mourning

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - 8:32am
Alexandra Gillespie

Today marks the National Day of Mourning, observed annually on 28 April. Adopted by the Canadian Federal Government, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and more than 100 countries around the world, the day provides an opportunity to remember and honour people who have died or been injured in workplace tragedies; to express the most profound sympathy to families, friends and co-workers affected; and to affirm a commitment to promoting health, safety and wellbeing as necessary foundations for all workplace success.

Both past experience and current events express this commitment’s urgency. As statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards indicate, Canada recorded 24,519 workplace deaths between 1993 and 2019, with 925 deaths in 2019 alone. In 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to bring the importance of workplace safety into sharp relief. This year, as encouraged by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, please consider observing a moment of respectful silence at 11:00a.m.—to acknowledge lives lost in years past and to recognize the sacrifice of essential workers on the front lines now.

To mark the solemn occasion symbolically, the University of Toronto will lower its flags to half-staff on all three campuses. Now, and in the future, UTM will also keep turning the spirit of this symbolism into action: we will continue to champion workplace safety as a fundamental right and to urge others—both in our community and beyond—to do the same.