This informational column was submitted to PrinceGeorgeMatters from Natalie Fletcher, President of the North Central Labour Council.
This National Day of Mourning (April 28), we recognize the many workers in Canada who have lost their lives or who have been injured at work.
While we honour the lives lost and those changed forever, we also stand with all essential workers at the front-line of the current crisis.
Workers in healthcare, grocery stores, food processing, transport and so many others wake up every day and go to work in order to support each of us and our communities.
In 2018, 1,027 workers across the country died because of their job.
Many more work-related deaths aren’t counted by our workers’ compensation system.
The COVID-19 pandemic puts workers at risk every day.
While we are grateful that many show up for us and our communities, we know their safety must come first.
As the world has faced this new and unknown contagion called COVID-19, governments and employers should be outfitting workers with all available protections, until the source of transmission is determined – not the other way around.
That means ensuring that front-line workers have the protective equipment they need, and the training to use it safely.
It means ensuring that all workers, including precarious and vulnerable workers, have access to job protections, adequate paid sick days and income supports to protect them through this crisis.