Edmonton, AB (April 28, 2016): Dr. David Swann released this statement:
“On this National Day of Mourning, we take a moment to remember those who have been injured, disabled or have lost their lives while on the job. Sadly, workplace injuries and deaths continue to affect Albertans across the province. In 2015 there were 125 Albertans lost to workplace illness or injury. Every one of these deaths tears away a spouse, sibling, parent and friend. Just yesterday we learned of two more workers who lost their lives in separate jobsite actions. My thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones.
“The Day of Mourning reminds us that Albertans have a right to a work environment that is safe and healthy, and that we must continue to strive together to defend that right.
“Last December Alberta passed the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act. This legislation now protects over ten thousand formerly exempt Albertans and provides them with the same security enjoyed by their urban counterparts. These rights, granted to agri-business employees in all other Canadian provinces, have been long overdue. Despite friction in the early stages, I have no doubt these changes will create long-term benefit for both employers and workers.
“We must remember, too, that a healthy work environment is not only physically healthy, but also mentally healthy. As we commit ourselves to creating conditions that are safe for our workers, let us also commit ourselves to conditions that are supportive of their mental health. Bullying, sexual harassment and gender biases are all workplace behaviours that belong in the past. There are many initiatives out there to help create a supportive environment and I encourage employees and employers both to take part.
“The jobsite is an important place for Albertans, and as Albertans we should all strive together to make it a place free of physical harm and mental hardship.”