Labour Media release

Media release: The National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job is Sunday, April 28

Halifax, N.S. – Ceremonies to mark this April 28 Day of Mourning will be held across the province this Sunday. The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour (NSFL) will host the Halifax event at Province House in Halifax at 11 am.

The National Day of Mourning commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and occupational exposures.

The observance began in 1984 and it was officially declared an annual day of remembrance the following year by the Canadian Labour Congress. In 1991, the day became a national observance when the Workers Mourning Day Act was passed, making April 28 an official Workers’ Mourning Day.Today, the day is observed in more than 100 countries around the world.

NSFL President Danny Cavanagh says this annual event is held to remember the workers we lost and to renew our dedication to protecting others.

“It is troubling that workplace fatalities in Nova Scotia increased in 2018 to 40. Fourteen Nova Scotians died from acute traumatic injuries on the job. There were also 26 fatalities classified as chronic (12 related to occupational diseases and 14 caused by health-related issues).

“Forty families that suffered through the loss of a family member because of work – a devastating reminder about the importance of workplace safety,” says Cavanagh.

The reality is that every year, between 900 to 1,000 workers die at work in Canada. That corresponds to close to three workers dying each day. Over the course of the last 20 years, that has translated to roughly more than 19,000 workers who have lost their lives to work-related causes. Cavanagh says many of these deaths are preventable and that we can do much more.

“The number of fatalities in 2018 reminds us just how much work remains and with employers, our unions, workers and our other health and safety partners, we can work towards ensuring every worker returns home at the end of the day safe and sound,” he added.

The Federation is working on ways to do more workplace safety education in our communities, and especially with young workers. We want to raise awareness about the toll-free 1-800 number people can use to report unsafe work conditions. People can 1-800-9LABOUR (1-800-952-2687) and no name is necessary. We are also working with Department of Labour officials on ways to change the workplace culture around safe and healthy workplaces.  We have also met with the special prosecutor and the criminal investigation staff at the Department.

In 2004, the trade union movement won federal legislation to hold companies criminally accountable for deaths and injury. Sadly, there have been less than 15 charges under the Westray Bill C-45 across the Country and just one criminal charge under C-45 here in Nova Scotia.

Cavanagh says that’s a sad reality given that April 28th is just two weeks before May 9th, which marks 27 years since the Westray Mine disaster when an entire shift of miners, 26 sons, brothers, husbands, fathers and friends, lost their lives. We are still fighting for the living, and for no more Westrays.

Danny Cavanagh, NSFL president: 902- 957-0822 (cell)

The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour is the provincial voice of the Labour Movement, representing 70,000 members in over 400 union locals.     

Day of Mourning Events in Nova Scotia, April 28, 2019

As of April 15, 2019

NS Federation of Labour

Day of Mourning Ceremony

Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly (“Province House”)

Hollis Street, Halifax NS

Sunday April 28th at 11:00am

There will be wreath-laying

Joan Wark at NS Federation of Labour (phone 902-455-2685 / email:

Cape Breton District Labour Council

Day of Mourning Ceremony

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 128 on 850 Victoria Road, Whitney Pier

Sydney, Cape Breton, NS

Sunday April 28th at 11 am

No wreaths, real flowers only

Cape Breton District Labour Council President Mark Muldoon (email:

Annapolis Valley Labour Council

Day of Mourning Ceremony

Workers Monument in Kentville Memorial Park on Park St. (Main Street) in Kentville, NS

(Reception to follow at Annapolis Valley Labour Council office at 362 Main Street in Kentville)

Sunday April 28th at 3:00pm

Laying of wreaths

Annapolis Valley Labour Council President Wayne Kelley (/email:

South Shore Labour Council

Day of Mourning Ceremony

Sunday, April 28th

1 pm gather at 81 Dominion Street, in front of Bridgewater Fire Department, walk to the Fireman’s Memorial, 106 Victoria Road, Brookside Cemetery, moment of silence

No wreaths, fresh flowers only

Light refreshments

South Shore Labour Council President Dianne Frittenburg (email:

South West Labour Group

Day of Mourning Ceremony

Sunday, April 28th at 2 PM

Fisherman’s Memorial, Water Street Yarmouth

There will be wreath-laying

Contact: Marcy Vacon SWLG

Pictou County

Day of Mourning Ceremony

Sunday, April 28th at 6 p.m.

Trenton Park

119 Park Road, Trenton NS

Wreath laying invited

For information:

Mary Lloyd

Pictou County Injured Workers Association