Niagara Region Honors Fallen Workers, Advocates for Migrant Worker Safety

The Niagara Region Labour Council (NRLC) held a Day of Mourning event in Niagara-on-the-Lake to honor workers who lost their lives on the job, particularly vulnerable migrant farmworkers, and to advocate for improved workplace health and safety measures. The event highlighted the alarming statistics of workplace fatalities, especially among migrant workers, and emphasized the need for collective commitment to preventing further injuries and deaths." This description focuses on the primary topic of the Day of Mourning event, the main entities involved (NRLC, migrant farmworkers), the context of workplace fatalities, and the significant actions and implications of the event. It provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as an image of a memorial or a group of people gathered to pay tribute to fallen workers.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Niagara Region Honors Fallen Workers, Advocates for Migrant Worker Safety

Niagara Region Honors Fallen Workers, Advocates for Migrant Worker Safety

The Niagara Region Labour Council (NRLC) held a Day of Mourning event in Niagara-on-the-Lake to pay tribute to workers who lost their lives on the job and to call for improved workplace health and safety measures, especially for vulnerable migrant workers. The ceremony, presided over by NRLC President Lou Ann Binning, took place at the monument dedicated to fallen workers in the town.

The event highlighted the alarming statistics surrounding workplace fatalities, particularly among migrant farmworkers. Over the past five years, at least 30 migrant farmworkers have died in Ontario, with ten of those deaths occurring in the Niagara region alone. Canada records approximately 1,000 on-the-job deaths annually, but experts suggest the actual number could be up to ten times higher due to the current system of attributing workplace deaths and injuries.

Why this matters: The high number of workplace fatalities among migrant workers is a stark reminder of the need for improved health and safety measures to protect vulnerable workers. If left unaddressed, these hazards can lead to further tragedies and perpetuate a culture of exploitation and neglect.

Lou Ann Binning emphasized the significance of the Day of Mourning, stating, "The day is marked in more than 100 countries and serves not only to remember those who have suffered because of their labour, but it is also a day to 'renew a collective commitment to improving workplace health and safety and to preventing further injuries, illnesses and deaths.'" She stressed the importance of remaining committed to protecting all workers by ensuring every workplace is safe and healthy.

The event also shed light on the unique challenges faced by migrant workers. Kit Andres, an organizer with the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC), highlighted the vulnerability of these workers, stating, "It's important to honour migrant farmworkers who have died or been injured on the job because without permanent resident status, migrants are denied the power to speak up about their rights and protect themselves." Migrant workers often face job termination, eviction, deportation, and being blacklisted from the farm work program for life if they attempt to assert their rights to a safe work environment.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake event was one of ten ceremonies organized by the NRLC throughout the region to mark the Day of Mourning. Wendy Murray Nicholson, whose husband Joel died in 1998 due to a preventable workplace accident, was among those in attendance. The Day of Mourning, recognized in over 100 countries, serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost and the urgent need for improved workplace safety measures, particularly for the most vulnerable workers in our communities.

Key Takeaways

  • Niagara Region Labour Council held a Day of Mourning event to honor workers who died on the job.
  • At least 30 migrant farmworkers have died in Ontario in the past 5 years, with 10 in Niagara region.
  • Canada records ~1,000 on-the-job deaths annually, but actual number may be up to 10 times higher.
  • Migrant workers face unique challenges, including vulnerability to exploitation and lack of rights.
  • Improved workplace health and safety measures are urgently needed to protect vulnerable workers.