Ontario Government Honours Fallen Workers

    April 28 Is A Day of Mourning For Those Killed Or Injured On The Job

    TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - Ontarians will take a few moments this week to
reflect on the impact that workplace deaths, injuries and illnesses have on
families, colleagues and communities, said Labour Minister Steve Peters.
    "We all have a role to play in keeping our workplaces healthy and safe,"
said Peters. "The Ministry of Labour, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
and the province's health and safety associations are working hard - along
with employers and labour - to ensure that workers are properly protected."
    The Day of Mourning is marked every April 28 to honour workers who have
been killed, injured or become ill in the workplace. It was first declared by
the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984.
    The minister is marking this 23rd Day of Mourning by handing out
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Day of Mourning ribbons to his colleagues
in the Legislature, and leading a moment of silence.
    Communities across the province will mark the occasion with ceremonies
and tributes on Friday, April 27 or Saturday, April 28. The Day of Mourning is
observed across Canada, and around the world, as International Workers'
Memorial Day. For a list of events in Ontario, see the Workers Health and
Safety Centre website, at http://www.whsc.on.ca/events/dm-mem.cfm.
    "Every workplace injury and every workplace death can be prevented," said
Peters. "We must continue to work together to make our workplaces healthier
and safer."

    Available in French




    The Government of Ontario has a history of taking strong action to prevent
workplace injuries. This has, over time, resulted in Ontario having among the
lowest rates of lost-time injuries and fatalities in the industrialized world.
Some of the cornerstones of the government's response to workplace injuries
have been:

    -  The establishment of a strong workplace safety and insurance system
       and agency. Originally established by the Workmen's Compensation Act
       in 1914, the public, arm's length agency has evolved over the years
       and is now known as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
       with a strong prevention component added to its insurance system.

    -  The WSIB funds 14 health and safety associations, which help
       workplaces in specific industries reduce injuries and illnesses and
       improve safety in the workplace.

    -  The Occupational Health and Safety Act, which establishes the internal
       responsibility system of health and safety protection used in Ontario
       workplaces. It establishes responsibilities for all parties in
       workplaces, and requires all employers to ensure the health and safety
       of all workers. This act, and its regulations, have been reviewed and
       updated numerous times to ensure they are up to date and meet the
       health and safety needs of evolving workplaces.

    -  By hiring 200 new occupational health and safety inspectors, we have
       doubled their ranks. By contrast, in 2003, Ontario had the lowest
       ratio of health and safety inspectors in Canada.

    -  Ontario has established a new revision system to update our list of
       over 700 Occupational Exposure Limits, to protect workers from
       exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. This new revision
       system will ensure that limits always meet the most up-to-date
       scientific information.

    In July 2004, the McGuinty government announced its plans to reduce
workplace injuries by 20 per cent through a comprehensive, integrated health
and safety strategy using education, training, legislation/regulation and
enforcement. The strategy's goal is that, by 2008, there will be 20,000 fewer
lost-time injuries than would have otherwise occurred each year and that this
level will be maintained. As a result, lost-time injury rates have been

    Lost-time injury rate:
    2.2 per 100 workers in 2003, down to
    2.1 per 100 in 2004, down to
    2.0 per 100 in 2005
    1.9 per 100 in 2006.

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Media enquiries: Susan McConnell, Minister's
Office, (416) 326-7710; Belinda Sutton, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405

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