CORNWALL, Ontario – On Friday, April 26, residents of Cornwall observed a National Day of Mourning for those workers who died or were injured on the job.
The National Day of Mourning for 2019 is recognized on Sunday, April 28 this year, but the service was held in advance so that several school children, union workers and public officials could attend.
The ceremony took place at the workers memorial in Lamoureux Park in Cornwall.
White roses were laid on the monument to commemorate those who died on the job, and red roses for those who were injured.
William Beattie spoke at the event about Darby Bergin, a resident of SD&G, a member of the SD&G Highlanders regiment and a former MP for Cornwall-Stormont in the late nineteenth century.
Bergin made money investing in the railroads in the 1800s before becoming Canada’s first Surgeon General. Bergin advocated for safer working conditions, especially for children working in textiles and other industries.
Cornwall Labour Council President Louise Lanctot said that around 1,000 Canadian workers die on the job every year, with many thousands more being injured. She explained that recent changes made by the Ford government have made the workplace less safe in Ontario.
“They’re doing things like self-evaluations online instead of random on-site inspections,” she said. “Unplanned inspections is what kept people on their toes.”
Lanctot says that if any worker feels like their work environment is unsafe to talk to their union representative or to call the Labour Board at 1-877-202-0008.