WorkSafeBC: Day of Mourning honours the memory of 175 workers lost in B.C. last year

April 28 signifies the Day of Mourning across Canada, where workers, employers, families, and communities pay tribute to workers who...

WorkSafeBC: Day of Mourning honours the memory of 175 workers lost in B.C. last year

April 28 signifies the Day of Mourning across Canada, where workers, employers, families, and communities pay tribute to workers who lost their lives due to a workplace injury or illness. British Columbians will gather at 30 ceremonies across the province today to pay tribute to fallen workers and renew a collective commitment to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all workers.

Workplace injuries and illnesses claimed the lives of 175 B.C. workers last year.

Occupational disease remained the number one killer of workers in 2023, claiming the lives of 93 workers, with 48 of those deaths resulting from asbestos exposure often decades ago. A total of 60 workers died from a traumatic injury last year, including falls from elevation, being struck by objects, and being caught in equipment and/or machinery. In addition, motor vehicle incidents claimed the lives of 22 workers in 2023.

Many students across the province are taking part in the Day of Mourning B.C. Schools Project. In its ninth year, this curriculum is aimed at educating students and young workers about their health and safety rights at work.

The National Day of Mourning began in Canada in 1984 and is now observed in over 100 countries worldwide. The solemn day serves as a reminder of the importance of workplace safety and the need to prevent work-related injuries and fatalities.

Those who wish to post a virtual dedication or read what others have shared can do so on the Day of Morning wall at:


Premier David Eby:
“As we remember those we have lost, we also recommit to making sure everyone, in every job, gets home safely at the end of the day. The National Day of Mourning is a powerful call to eliminate workplace tragedies — because every death is an outrage, and every loss is profound. To the friends, family and colleagues who have lost someone: we stand with you in your grief, and we will keep working with you to protect every worker in our province.”

Hon. Harry Bains, Minister of Labour:
“Today we pay tribute to those unfortunate workers who did not return home safely from their jobs at the end of the workday. My thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one, a colleague or a friend, and those who continue to suffer from a workplace illness or injury. As the Minister of Labour, I remain committed to doing everything possible to improve workplace safety across B.C.”

Sussanne Skidmore, President, BC Federation of Labour:
“Today, we mourn those workers we’ve lost to workplace injury and illness and think of the workers who’ve survived, but whose lives have been deeply altered. Despite the real progress we’ve made in making workplaces safer, the number of workers who die every year because of their jobs remains near its all-time high. That’s why this day is not about grief and remembrance alone; it’s about action. On this day every year we — labour, employers and government — must recommit to the urgency of workplace safety. People’s lives depend on us.”

Laura Jones, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia:
“Today, we honour those who have tragically lost their lives or endured injuries and illnesses on the job. Safety is a top priority across sectors but there is more that can be done. Each of us — whether we are in business, labour, government, or individual workers — has a role in maintaining a culture of safety. Our efforts are essential to ensure that every worker returns home safely at the end of each day.”

Anne Naser, President and CEO, WorkSafeBC:
“On April 28 each year, we gather to mourn and remember those whose lives were tragically cut short or forever altered. As we reflect, we must also look forward and renew our collective commitment to preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths, each and every day. Let us continue to work together to ensure every worker returns home safely.”

Stephen von Sychowski, President, Vancouver & District Labour Council:
“Each year on April 28th we gather to mourn for the dead, and to fight for the living. This is a day to recommit ourselves to education, action, and enforcement. Every workplace death, every injury, is one too many. In the memory of those who we have lost, and the families, friends, co-workers and communities that have been impacted, we must work together to ensure that every worker goes home to their loved ones in the condition they left in, every single time.”

About WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC engages workers and employers to prevent injury, disease, and disability in B.C. When work-related injuries or diseases occur, WorkSafeBC provides compensation and support to people in their recovery, rehabilitation, and safe return to work. We serve 2.7 million workers and 280,000 employers across B.C.

For more information, contact:

Media Relations, WorkSafeBC
Tel: 604.276.5157

Related Links