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VIDEO: National day of mourning for workers marked in Langley City

Ceremony each April 28 honours workers killed, injured, or became ill on the job
Firefighters and city workers gathered for the Day of Mourning ceremony at City Hall on Friday, April 28. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)

Langley City workers raised a flag in front of City hall on Douglas Crescent on Friday morning to mark the National Day of Mourning for workers killed, injured, or made ill by their job.

This year, the day of mourning, which takes place on April 28 every year, had a small crowd of City staff and local politicians.

Last year, 181 people died from work-related illnesses or injuries in B.C., including 61 workers who died of asbestos-related diseases, 26 in vehicle accidents, and 48 from traumatic injury.

More than 1,100 workers died on the job in 2021, including 18 who were 24 years old or younger. More than 275,000 were injured.

Andrew Mercier, Langley City MLA, shared how his mother struggled as an injured woman and the impact that had on his family.

“She injured her back when she was a young nurse and she struggled with that injury and partial disability my entire life. I grew up watching the struggles workers have and what that does to a family.”

He added that today is not only for mourning, but to remember to fight for people still working.

Langley City Mayor Nathan Pachal said mental health also needs to be considered for workers.

“We don’t talk a lot about mental health but that is important. We know that mental health is very important to strive for and make sure we have the safety measures in place, such as for firefighters.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Kyle Latchford, on behalf of MP John Aldag.

“That’s why it is essential we bring awareness to workers and encouraging workers, and making sure they are confident that they can deny unsafe work,” Latchford said.

A moment of silence was shared to honour workers who have died on the job.

In a statement, the prime minister’s office said the day of mourning commemorates all Canadians lost, injured, or became ill beause of workplace accidents.

“As we mourn, we recommit to creating healthier workplaces where everyone can feel safe to go to work,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

When the Canadian Labour Congress held the first National Day of Mourning ceremony in 1985, Canada became the first country to formally commemorate workers killed in the workplace.

In 1991, the federal government passed the Workers Mourning Act, and the following year, British Columbia proclaimed April 28 as the Day of Mourning.

Today, it is recognized in 100 countries around the world.

READ ALSO: Government finds that Canadian Human Rights Commission discriminated against workers

IN OTHER NEWS: VIDEO: Two vehicles crash in rural Langley

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Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm excited to start my journalism career in Langley and meet our community.
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