Workers’ Day of Mourning: April 28, 2024

April 28 is the annual National Day of Mourning for Workers to remember those who tragically lost their lives on the job and to recognize those who endured an injury or acquired an illness or disease as a result of their work. In 2023, 29 workers in Saskatchewan lost their lives because of work-related incidents, not including farm-related fatalities or other workplaces that are not covered or reported by workers’ compensation. We also mourn the loss of two members of the CUPE family: Jennifer Doucette, CUPE 1630 in Manitoba and Steven Seekins, CUPE 374 in British Columbia.

The Workers’ Day of Mourning is a stark reminder of the risks workers face and the urgent need to make every workplace safer.  We must ensure all workers know their health and safety rights, continue the fight for safe working conditions, and ensure employers and governments are held accountable for work-related injuries, illness and death. The Workers’ Day of Mourning was created by CUPE members more than 40 years ago to remember those who lost their lives on the job and to inspire other workers to fight to prevent further tragedies. Visit the CUPE Saskatchewan health and safety hub for more resources.

As trade unionists, we also know the importance of holding employers accountable to recognize and address the impacts of systemic understaffing – including the resulting stress and over work on the health of public service workers, the need to address and prevent exposure to violence on the job, and the importance of a psychologically safe working conditions and the prevention of mental health injuries. The health and safety of workers includes the prevention of mental health injuries from work, the prevention of suicide, and recognizing psychosocial hazards.

Attend a vigil in your community on Sunday, April 28, 2024.

  • REGINA – Sunday, April 28, 2024
    4:00 p.m. in front of Regina City Hall (2476 Victoria Ave)
    In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony may move indoors at the Regina Union Centre (2709 – 12th Avenue). Reception to follow at the Regina Union Centre.
    Facebook event link:
  • MOOSE JAW – Sunday, April 28, 2024
    2:30 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Union Centre (1402 Caribou St W)
    The ceremony will be held at the Cairn in the Moose Jaw Union Centre. In the case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Main Hall (same address).
  • SASKATOON – Sunday, April 28, 2024
    11:00 a.m. at Civic Square (222 3rd Avenue North)
  • WEYBURN – Sunday, April 28, 2024
    1:00 p.m. at Tommy Douglas Centre (400 – 10th Ave SE)
    Annual vigil, wreath laying
  • ESTEVAN – Sunday, April 28, 2024
    4:00 p.m. at Coal miner’s car by the courthouse on Souris and Main

Know Your 4 Rights

We must ensure that all workers know about the four workers’ rights enshrined in health and safety law:

  • The right to refuse work you believe is unsafe until an investigation can be carried out;
  • The right to participate in deciding what is safe in the workplace and to report hazards;
  • The right to know information on any hazard in the workplace that may cause harm, and how to prevent that harm; and
  • The right to be free from reprisal for carrying out any of the other rights or any other requirement of health and safety law.

The Role of Health and Safety Committees

Employers are legally obligated to collaborate with workers on health and safety committees to highlight issues and find safe solutions.

CUPE members are reporting several reoccurring problems, from regular meetings being held and minutes being available, to employers attempting to appoint union representatives.

We must remember that the health and safety committee is our forum to raise issues and make recommendations to employers. To that end, we need to re-double our efforts to build our capacity, to ensure that we document hazards, keep careful records, and report back to members when our employers refuse to remove hazards or control risks from hazards that cannot be removed. When all else fails, we need to ensure our documented concerns are sent to governmental inspectors so that workers stay safe.

Resources and Links: