Silas says to truly honour workers, we must fight to ensure all workers go home safely at the end of each day.
As Canada observes today’s National Day of Mourning for workers killed on the job, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) joins unions across the country in demanding that occupational health and safety be recognized as a fundamental right at work.
Linda Silas, president of the CFNU, said years of working through the COVID-19 pandemic have shown that workers cannot wait any longer for this critical human right.
“On this National Day of Mourning, Canada’s nurses honour all of the health care and frontline workers who have suffered or died at work,” said Silas. “Nurses and frontline health workers have sacrificed their own safety as essential workers in this pandemic. To truly honour them, we must fight to ensure every nurse and worker goes home safely at the end of each day.”
In Canada, approximately 1,000 workers die as a result of their work every year. This figure is just the tip of the iceberg as many occupational illnesses, injuries and deaths are not included in workers’ compensation statistics. These numbers also don’t reflect the realities of the many worker fatalities and illnesses related to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
“With COVID-19 continuing to spread, nurses and health care workers are still grappling with this workplace hazard, from over-capacity units and understaffing to falling ill with the virus and the impacts of long COVID,” explained Silas.
Silas said the strain of the pandemic has only heightened the health human resources crisis, adding more pressure on nurses.
“Nurses are strong, but they are working under an incredible strain,” said Silas. “Understaffing is unsafe for both health workers and their patients. Safe working conditions need to be a priority for our governments. Nurses need our support, and they need it now.”
The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing Canada’s frontline nurses in every sector of health care – from home care, LTC, community and acute care, including nursing students – and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.