Day of Mourning for B.C. workers killed and made ill on the job

Day of Mourning for B.C. workers killed and made ill on the job

On Thursday about 200 people gathered at the BC Legislature to honour those who have been killed and made ill on the job.

The annual Day of Mourning has been marked in Canada since 1991 and in BC since 1997.

Bob and Chris Souchuck say the loss of their son Josh two years ago has been devastating and life-changing.

“We just miss him so much, you know he was only 24,” said Bob Souchuck.

On March 2, 2020, Josh Souchuck was hit by a truck at Sysco where he worked.

“But changes have been implemented and changes have been made to make it safer for everyone but unfortunately Josh paid the price,” added Souchuck.

Their son’s passing was one of 151 work-related deaths in BC in 2020.

In 2021 the number rose to 161 — 99 of those were related to occupational disease, many involving asbestos.

62 of the deaths were due to traumatic injuries.

Many in the Victoria crowd Thursday were Cupe Union members.

“This is our most important work. Keeping workers safe and healthy and coming home after every day they go to work is CUPE BC’s priority,” said CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta.

Forestry is one of the most dangerous jobs on Vancouver Island and just this month two men have lost their lives on the north island.

A Day of Mourning ceremony was also held in Courtenay where mayor Bob Wells shared that he lost his father in a tug boat accident when he was 10 years-old.

His message to those gathered was about protecting young workers.

“The critical message is for our youth who tend to be over-represented in accidents when we talk about those acute accidents so making sure they realize they have the right, if they feel something is unsafe to let their employer know and to refuse work,” said Wells.

“I think we’ve been making progress. I think some of the things Worksafe has been doing and I think a lot of the unions are doing focusing now on health and safety enforcement are working,” said Brian Charlton, of the Campbell River, Courtenay & District Labour Council.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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