On Saturday April 28th at Simms Park, as in hundreds of other communities across Canada, there will be a gathering to pay respects to all the workers who have died or been injured  on the job over the past year. In BC alone, in 2017, almost 200 workers were killed at work. The National Day of Mourning is not only a time to remember but also a time to reflect on the larger issue of workplace health and safety.

“That reflection should also include the effects workplace related deaths and injuries have on their co-workers and their families.” stated Andrea Craddock president of the Campbell River, Courtenay and District Labour Council, one of the sponsors of this year’s event. “But we also need to look at how outside issues, like intimate violence at home, affect workers at their workplace. That is why the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has put forward that as the theme for 2018’s Day of Mourning.”

Can work be safe when home isn’t? That’s the question the Canadian Labour Congress set out to answer when they surveyed 8429 Canadian workers across the country.

The CLC found that 38% of women, 17% of men and 65% of trans persons had experienced intimate partner violence.  For 38%, it had affected their ability to get to work or to function when at work.  8.5% had lost a job as a result.  Women experienced a higher rate of injuries and lived with a higher sense of fear.

In another survey of perpetrators of intimate partner violence, 1/3 reported contacting their partner during work hours in order to emotionally abuse or monitor her.  They also talked about workplace accidents and “near misses” due to being involved in this behaviour.

 The CLC has been working with member unions to bring awareness to this as an issue of health and safety and to increase supports for those whose work is impacted, whether as survivors, perpetrators or co-workers.

The Campbell River Courtenay and District Labour Council, CUPE municipal workers  Local 556, and the City of Courtenay will hold a brief ceremony on April 28 at 10 a.m. at Simms Park.  All are welcome.

Canadian Labour Congress