On Injured Workers Day, Canada’s unions say: safe work now!

May 31, 2024

June 1st is Injured Workers Day. Far too many workers continue to be injured on the job – many in critical, life-changing ways.

According to the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada, an astounding 348,747 lost time claims were made in 2022, the last year for which complete data is available.

Shockingly, this number doesn’t even count those who decline – or are illegally persuaded by their employers not – to report their injuries.

On Day of Mourning, Canada’s unions issued a demand for “Safe work now!”, a call to action for employers and governments to make work and workplaces truly safe for all workers.

“Every workplace injury is preventable, says Bea Bruske, President of the CLC. ” These injuries – be they physical or psychological – should never be seen as “part of the job”. Employers have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that workers aren’t hurt or maimed.”

To ensure that every worker returns home whole from the job at the end of every work day, Canada’s unions demand from every level of government:

  • Holding criminally negligent employers accountable through proactive enforcement of the Westray Law – not just for fatalities, but injuries as well;
  • Substantive action to ensure workers know about the hazards in their work and workplace, regardless of the type of products they use;
  • Development and implementation of comprehensive strategies to remove toxic substances from the workplace;
  • That every workplace be free from violence and harassment; and
  • Increased proactive workplace health and safety investigations and stronger enforcement of health and safety laws.

“Workers compensation systems must also provide workers with the compensation they deserve in a fair and transparent manner,” says Bruske. “Easy access to the rehabilitation and vocational services they need is also essential.”

Workers demand that governments have their backs, so they can get back on track: “Any shirking responsibility for injured workers by employers and governments is simply unacceptable: it’s time for safe work, now.” 

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