Dr. Swann Member Statement on National Day of Mourning – 01 May 2017

Taken from the Alberta Hansard for Monday, May 1, 2017.

Member Statement – National Day of Mourning

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Having attended the Friday memorial service in Lethbridge, a very emotional tribute to the workers lost in the Lethbridge area, I’m pleased to stand with a response to the ministerial statement on the National Day of Mourning. At this time we pause to remember and mourn Albertans who have suffered injuries, disease, and death in the workplace. The risk, especially for inexperienced and summer workers, is significant, and each worker must know of their right to refuse unsafe work. This upward trend simply cannot continue, especially given that these workplace incidents are all preventable. If we’re to avoid further tragedies, we must strive to create a culture of safety.

By the way, Mr. Speaker, this is the first year that the deaths of paid farm workers are included in the WCB statistics, a result of the much-delayed Bill 6. For far too long farm workers went without the basic legal protection that every other worker in the country has. However, more work needs to be done to reduce barriers to claiming WCB coverage for ranch and farm workers and to encourage both workers and employers alike to file claims for incidents that occur.

By remembering the injuries and deaths of Alberta workers and by supporting the families they leave behind, our commitment to building a safe work environment will be strengthened. It is our solemn duty in this House and the responsibility of each one of us to do all that we can to ensure every man and woman who goes to work returns home safely.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.