Canada has ‘stepped up’ on workplace safety: says PM
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Canada has ‘stepped up’ on workplace safety: says PM
PM Calls to reaffirm commitment on National Day of Mourning
Enforcement of labour laws happens at both the federal and provincial levels, depending on whether a workplace is provincially or federally regulated.
In Ontario, the Ministry of Labour investigates workplace incident or illness, including those that result in death, injury or occupational illness.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for his part, said in a statement that the federal government is making worker safety a top priority.
“Established more than 30 years ago, this National Day of Mourning invites us to reaffirm our commitment to creating safer and healthier workplaces for everyone,” Trudeau said.
“The Government of Canada has stepped up to improve workplace safety standards and practices, including by modernizing our compliance and enforcement regime under the Canada Labour Code, which protects federally regulated workers,” he said.
“These changes are helping to ensure there are strong consequences for employers who violate workplace safety standards and put hardworking Canadians in harm’s way.”
Trudeau also said the government is continuing the work of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and has made 10 days of paid sick leave a reality in all federally regulated private sector workplaces.
1,081 workplace fatalities reported in 2021
In 2021, the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada reported 1,081 workplace fatalities in Canada.
According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, 242 people died as a result of a work-related injury or illness in Ontario in 2022.
Marty Warren, United Steelworkers national director for Canada, said at the event that workplaces where workers die should be treated by investigators like crime scenes.
“I don’t want anybody to go to jail, but at some point, at some time — 1,000 workers a year — it’s got to stop. If that means somebody going to jail, so be it,” he said.
Warren said it’s important for workers not only to know and exercise their rights but also to mentor young labour activists. He said workers fought hard for health and safety laws. and that fight needs to continue for the next generation to make sure workplaces are safe.
“Even one death is too much because no worker should die from their job,” she said.
Lily Chang, secretary-treasurer of Canadian Labour Congress, said the numbers of deaths every year include only the fatalities and claims accepted by the worker’s compensation system. Hundreds die every year but their numbers are not noted, she added.
Even one death is too much,’ labour leader says
“We expect employers to do their part, to keep workers safe by upholding health and safety standards in the workplace and by providing necessary equipment and training. But as employers continue to cut corners and costs at the expense of workers’ lives and safety, we know that workers are not being kept as safe as they should.”
The Canadian Labour Congress chose April 28 as the National Day of Mourning in Canada in 1984 to pay tribute to workers killed or injured on the job or who have suffered illness due to their work
“This NDP caucus is going to fight like hell for workers and families,” said NDP Leader ……….
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says Justin Trudeau is waging a war against the working class and he plans to leverage his party’s agreement with the Liberals to protect working people.
Singh addressed his caucus on Wednesday in a speech that heavily focused on the struggles faced by everyday Canadians and touched on the party’s traditional values such as strengthening unions and defending public health care.
“Workers are the backbone of this country and they deserve respect,” Singh said. “If you work a job in this country, you shouldn’t go hungry.
He accused the prime minister of dismissing the struggles families are facing, including decades-high inflation, rising grocery prices and lack of access to health care.
“You can’t even find cold medicine for your children. Right now it feels like this war against workers,” he said.
He also accused Trudeau of allowing some of the country’s premiers to dismantle Medicare by introducing publicly funded but privately delivered health-care service, and called on the federal government to ban privatization as part of the ongoing health-care funding negotiations with the provinces.
“We’re going to push every day for action to bring down inflation, to protect the environment and fix and expand universal public Canadian health care,” Singh said.
Trudeau said he recognizes that families are facing challenging times, but that Canada is in a period of transition because of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are helping families, but it’s not just a question of being there for the short term. We must build a medium- and long-term future that reassures and reflects the ambitions that Canadians have for themselves, for their future,” Trudeau said in French at a news conference Wednesday in Shawinigan, Que.
Last March, the New Democrats signed a supply and confidence agreement with the Liberals, in which the NDP agreed to support the minority government in key votes until 2025.
In exchange, the Liberals promised to support NDP priorities such as introducing a pharma care bill by the end of this year, implementing a national dental-care program and supporting energy workers who may be affected by environmental policies.
The NDP claimed wins after the Liberals introduced cost-of-living policies last fall, including dental-care subsidies for children under 12 in low-income households, one-time supplements for low-income renters and a temporary doubling of the GST tax rebate.
Singh said he plans to use the agreement to advance outstanding items in the coming year.
His 30-minute speech got a standing ovation from the NDP caucus, which is meeting for three days as it prepares for Parliament to resume at the end of the month. Singh did not take questions from the media, but he’s expected to address reporters on Thursday.
“This NDP caucus is going to fight like hell for workers and families,” he said.
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