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Ottawa Labour Council to hold national Day of Mourning ceremony

The Ottawa & District Labour Council will be holding their annual Day of Mourning ceremony at the Canadian Labour Congress monument this Saturday. Christopher Whan / Global News

Every day millions of people head to work with their biggest worry being, “What’s for dinner?” Unfortunately, some never make it home at the end of the day.

In fact, 905 never made it home in 2016 in Canada, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada.

The Ottawa & District Labour Council has continued to do its part to remember those who never made it home and will continue that tradition Saturday when it holds its National Day of Mourning Ceremony at Vincent Massey Park.

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The event is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at the Canadian Labour Congress monument, not far from Ottawa’s largest construction tragedy: the Heron road bridge collapse. Nine men lost their lives there in the summer of 1966.

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Sean McKenny, president of the ODLC, says that the event offers those who have lost someone an opportunity to mourn but also to remind others that there is still a long way to go to protect workers.

“We’re of two minds,” McKenny said. “One is that there is a profound sadness to the day, and the other is frustration that this hasn’t been eliminated.”

The ODLC has been holding the event every year at the park since 1984, before even the federal government recognized the date through legislation in 1991.

“The goal of the event is to recognize the importance of remembering those who were injured or who died a needless death,” McKenny said. The ultimate goal is to eliminate workplace deaths entirely.

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Several speakers will be on hand at the ceremony, including:

  • Donald Lafleur, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress
  • Robert Blakely, Canadian operating officer, Canada’s Building Trades Unions
  • Mona Fortier, MP for Ottawa-Vanier
  • Christian Bruneau, father of Olivier Bruneau, who died due to injuries sustained while at his construction job in 2016.

McKenny will also speak on behalf of the ODLC.

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All are welcome at the event and McKenny says the event will continue rain or shine.

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