April 28 is the National Day of Mourning, a solemn occasion when Canadians come together to remember and honour those who have lost their lives, suffered injury or illness on the job or have experienced a work-related injury. This day also gives us pause to reflect on the importance of workplace safety for the thousands of workers in Canada who provide essential services to our communities and do so with the security in knowing they will go home to their families safely.
Workplace health and safety is a growing concern across all sectors. Those who work on the frontlines of public service are frequently exposed to unpredictable, high stress, and sometimes violent situations in the workplace, making them vulnerable to a variety of health hazards. Sadly, sometimes fatalities and serious injuries that could have been prevented do occur.
Mental health injury is also increasingly becoming a serious problem. As the pandemic raged on over the last few years, workplace-related psychological issues, and socio-economic factors like race, income and occupation contributed to extreme burnout for many workers, and negatively affected their overall health and wellbeing.
OPSEU/SEFPO continues to stand in solidarity in negotiating strong contracts and securing workplace policies and practices that prioritize the health and safety for all workers and prevent and limit factors which may lead to death, injury, and illness in the workplace. We must always remain vigilant in ensuring every worker feels safe enough to work.
Today, OPSEU/SEFPO, and organizations across the nation, hang the flag at half-mast to remember those who have been killed or injured, and to show support and solidarity for the families and loved ones affected by tragedy.