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Human Resources - Careers

Day of Mourning

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April 28 is recognized every year as the National Day of Mourning across Canada for respecting persons killed or injured in the workplace or died of an illness resulting from their work. It is also a day to commit each and every one of us to eliminate workplace illness and injury.

The City of Winnipeg’s elected officials and employees, together with our Civic Unions and Associations, traditionally mark the day by inviting civic employees to attend one of the Day of Mourning Ceremonies held at various City worksites. With the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately the ceremonies cannot be held in person this year. Recognizing the importance of marking this day, the following video was put together. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Day of Mourning 2020 written remarks

Hon. Scott Fielding, Minister of Finance, Province of Manitoba

Hello, I am Scott Fielding, Minister of Finance.  Thank you for joining us for the National Day of Mourning.

Today, we pause to remember and honour those we've lost to work-related causes.

In 2019, Manitoba lost 19 workers to acute hazards and occupational illness. Each of these Manitobans is missed by family, friends, and co-workers.

Part of honouring our lost workers is renewing our commitment to keep Manitobans safe and healthy in the workplace.

As a province, we share this common vision and goal with you, to bring Manitobans home safely at the end of their work day.

His Worship Brian Bowman, Mayor of the City of Winnipeg

This Day of Mourning is unlike any in our history. We are unable to gather; unable to hold our traditional service of remembrance; unable to offer each other the hugs and stories and personal support we usually do, at this time of year. But, this Day of Mourning, living in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our mission has never been clearer.

The 2020 Day of Mourning reminds us how fundamental the preservation of safety and health is, to everything we do. It’s more important than ever to remember with reverence, all the City workers killed or injured in the workplace, and those who have died because of an illness resulting from their work. It’s more important than ever to renew our commitment to making every City workplace, a safe workplace.

This year, we add the names of William Forrester (Winnipeg Hydro), Bernard Bartmanovich (Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service), and Felix Desrochers (Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service) to the City’s commemorative roll. Please take time to remember them, their lives, and their contributions to the City of Winnipeg, as we express our condolences to their families and friends.

This year, fighting the pandemic has brought the significance of our health and safety efforts into clear, sharp, focus. I want to thank all our front-line staff who are doing such magnificent work, serving residents safely and effectively. I also want to recognize the part all of us can play in fighting COVID-19, by practicing good hygiene and social distancing, and by staying home when we’re sick. These are extraordinary times, but City staff are extraordinary people – and we will get through this crisis, together.

In all our operations, safety has to be our paramount concern. Together, mindful, and vigilant – in every shop and station and office in the City – we have to continue working to eliminate workplace illness and injury. That’s the lesson of this 2020 Day of Mourning.

Brian Bowman
Mayor
The City of Winnipeg

Michael Ruta, Interim Chief Administrative Officer, City of Winnipeg

As we observe the 2020 Workers’ Day of Mourning, I would like to highlight all the hard work being done across the Public Service, to live up to this day’s highest goals and aspirations. Even as we work together to fight COVID-19, initiatives to improve all aspects of worker health and safety are progressing in many departments.

Keeping City staff healthy through this pandemic is crucial. We are adhering to a detailed infection and prevention control plan in our workplaces, and have adopted a range of physical distancing measures recommended by the Province of Manitoba. From front-line staff to those working remotely, I want to thank everyone who is doing their part in this life-saving effort.

Achieving SAFE Work Certification in our various departments is key to the City’s overall safety and health strategy, and this work is ongoing. Community Services and the Winnipeg Fleet Management Agency have achieved this certification, as have the Water and Waste Department’s Water Services Division, Solid Waste Division, South End Treatment Plant, and West End Treatment Plant. Other departments and divisions are making significant progress as well, including Planning, Property and Development; Public Works; Winnipeg Transit; the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service; and the Winnipeg Police Service.

Many dedicated people – City managers, employees, and members of our workplace safety and health committees – are working to ensure a safer, healthier future for all City workers. This is the best way to honour those we remember on our annual Day of Mourning, and I want to express my deepest thanks to the diverse and talented team that is making this progress possible.

Michael Ruta, FCA
Interim Chief Administrative Officer
The City of Winnipeg

Gord Delbridge, Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500

Hi, I’m Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Local 500

Each year on April 28th we pause to remember those workers who have lost their lives, been injured, or became sick while at work.

Our union regrets every injury and every life lost on the job.

As we honour the lives lost, we must also think about the thousands in our civic workforce, healthcare workers, grocery store, and many other essential workers who are on the frontlines of this current crisis.

Their dedication and efforts to keeping our community safe and running are beyond measure.

On this year’s day of mourning, we must continue our collective resolve to making the workplace safer for everyone.

And on this day, we encourage all workers to keep health and safety a priority both at work and at home.

Please stay safe.

Thank you.

Alex Forrest, United Firefighters of Winnipeg

Hello, my name is Alex Forrest.  I am the President of the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg and I am a Captain in the Winnipeg Fire Department.

It is my honour to speak on behalf of our 1500 members on this prestigious day.  The Annual Worker’s Day of Mourning.

Unfortunately, because of the unprecedented pandemic, we are doing the ceremony through social media.

We are doing this at a time where every Fire Fighter and Fire Paramedic are putting themselves at risk every time they are called out on a Fire/Rescue or medical emergency.  Across North America, we have had our brothers and sisters diagnosed with work place exposures due to COVID-19 and sadly we have had some of these Fire Fighters die because of their exposures.  Please keep Fire Fighters and all First Responders, Medical Community and so many others, in your thoughts as they keep society moving forward.

So many workers are putting themselves at risk for everyone.  This ceremony today pays tribute to all.

Richard Mahe, Winnipeg Association of Public Service Officers

Hello, I’m Richard Mahé, President of WAPSO and a City Planner with the Planning, Property, and Development Department. On behalf of WAPSO’s members, I would to thank you for the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of our membership at this important event.

The Day of Mourning provides an opportunity to recognize the people who have lost their lives or been injured in their workplaces. It’s also an opportunity to renew our commitment to ensure our workplaces are safe and allow everyone to go home at the end of the day.

We should also not forget to recognize those that are directly affected by workplace tragedies. It impacts loved ones, families, friends, and coworkers and will change their lives forever.

In May of 2018, our brothers and sisters in the Water and Waste Department experienced a loss of one of their coworkers, Xiaochun Luo, who died unexpectedly while at work. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family, friends, and coworkers.

Today’s Day of Mourning takes on added meaning as we recognize the job that all workers on the frontlines are doing to ensure that our communities, our cities, and the country continue to receive essential public services.

Right now, the world is grappling with a global pandemic and it is vital that we take a moment today to reinforce the importance of ensuring that all workers have the necessary protective equipment to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.

Workplace safety is a broad issue that affects everyone.

So let us make this National Day of Mourning the day where we collectively renew our commitment to working together to make our workplaces and our communities as safe as we can.

Thank you

Romeo Ignacio, Amalgamated Transit Union

Hello, I am Romeo Ignacio, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505.

As we mourn for the lives lost by fellow workers, we also remember our colleagues who suffered injury and sickness at work. We also pay tribute to those who have succumbed to or have been impacted by the Corona Virus pandemic.

The memories of our fallen brothers and sisters, and our dear friend and colleague Brother Jubal, will always remain in our hearts.

In memory of civic employees who died of work related causes since 1978
Charles Alford John Hazen Robert Richardson
Gordon Arndt Leslie Helman David Rivers
Eric Basarowich Robert J. Hughes Donald Robertson
Edward Batt Bob Innes Fred Roy
William (Bill) Besters Edward Kelsch Norbert Sabourin
Len Blanco Walter Kolbert Walter Samson
Hubert Brick John Krahn Gerhard Schilke
Frank Brigham William A. Lauder Barry Schedler
Brian Brusegard Edward L. Lennon Joseph Schillinger
Barry Chipka Harold Lessard Robert Sharpe
Robert Cross Glenn Lucas Manuel Silva
Joseph Cymbalisty Guy Lovel Steve Slobodzian
Kelly DeKeruzec Xiaochun Luo Ron C. Smith
Harris Diack William Martin Frank Spooner
Art Diplock Doug McAdam Rick Stoyko
Raymond Ducharme Dave McCorriston Peter Sweryd
Rene Ducharme Alfred McDonald Les Tillett
Nestor Dudar Jim McDonald Charles James Walker
Murray Eastoe George McLean James Woodman
John William Elgar Kenneth Merritt David Zaharia
Robert S. Everton Abe Neufeld  
William Farrington Thomas Nichols Added in 2020:
Richard Fenske John (Jack) Nicol Felix Desrochers
Irvine Jubal Fraser George Olmstead William Forrester
Donald Gilchrist Percy O’Neil Bernard Bartmanovich
Stephen Glover Ed Palamar  
Jerry Goldenberg Raymond Perrault  
Lorne Green Henry Philpott  
Albert Grundy Andrew Poirier  
Paul Gyselinck Doug Prysiazniuk  
James Halstrom Charles Puttenham  
George Hannon Larry Quinn  
Last update: April 28, 2020
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