Jack Poole Plaza was the site of the annual Day of Mourning Ceremony, an event held every April 28 to commemorate workers killed as a result of their jobs in B.C.
Family survivors were joined by workers, employers, and others to mark the day here in Vancouver.
Last year in B.C., 122 workers were killed on the job: 72 caused by occupational disease, and 50 the result of traumatic injuries.
In Greater Vancouver, there were 13 work-related traumatic deaths.
The Olympic Cauldron was lit as part of the public memorial.
Mayor Gregor Robertson says workplace safety needs to continue to be a priority.
“This is a day that we need to re-dedicate ourselves to taking care of each other, to making our workplaces safer, and making sure people who go to work in the morning all come home safe to their family and friends at night.”
Irene Lanzinger, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour, says remembering fallen workers doesn’t go far enough.
“The national day of mourning must also be a call to action. A day to re-commit to our collective responsibility to put an end to these preventable tragedies.”
In 2015, traumatic injury made up 41 percent of all work place deaths. That number is down from 62 percent in 2006. Over that same time, work related deaths from occupational disease increased from 38 percent to 59 percent.
History of Day of Mourning ceremony
The first Day of Mourning ceremony was held in Canada in 1984 by the Canadian Labour Congress, making this the first country to formally recognize workers killed in the workplace.
The federal government declared April 28 a national Day of Mourning in 1991. A public commemorative ceremony has been held in Vancouver since 1997.
Today, ceremonies take place across the world and the day is recognized at the federal, provincial, and municipal level in Canada.