Workers environment better but still needs improvement: U.A.

Students from St. Lawrence Intermediate School lay white roses on the Workers' Memorial in Lamoureux Park in Cornwall, Ont. on April 28, 2015 to mark the National Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Warm sunshine poured over what is usually a solemn occasion in Cornwall – remembering workers killed and injured on the job.

Roughly 80 people stood beside the Workers’ Memorial in Lamoureux Park at noon today (Tuesday) for the Cornwall observance of the National Day of Mourning.

About half of the group was students from St. Lawrence Intermediate School on an outreach program.

Ontario Federation of Labour spokesman Duncan MacDonald urged them to “fight for the living” and to speak up about workplace dangers.

MacDonald says there should be an ongoing system where workers are made aware of their rights and are involved in the process. He also suggested the injured are also a priority to make sure they return as productive members of society.

The students then laid white roses on the memorial to remember young workers while adult dignitaries laid red roses to remember all workers.

Cornwall, Ont. mayor Leslie O'Shaughnessy places a red rose on the Workers' Memorial in Lamoureux Park as part of the National Day of Mourning for killed and injured workers. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)
Cornwall, Ont. mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy places a red rose on the Workers’ Memorial in Lamoureux Park as part of the National Day of Mourning for killed and injured workers. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

In a change from previous ceremonies, The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry (U.A.) had a white wreath with a construction helmet inside.

“We always had the flowers but we thought it would be fitting to put this (wreath) in front and the hardhat to represent construction workers,” U.A. Local 71 Business Agent Pierre Jodoin tells Cornwall Newswatch.

“Remember the people that sacrificed their lives, building our buildings and roads and infrastructure and at the same time motivate ourselves to make sure legislation is in place for the future workers…have a safe environment,” Jodoin said.

The spokesman for skilled craftsmen says the working environment “is a lot better than what it was” for the Ontario worker but there’s a lot of improvement that can be made, especially with red tape. “When a fallen, injured person especially – and we had one here, Brian was here. He’s going through hell to get compensation…he was just a bystander at an industrial accident,” Jodoin stated.

The ceremony, which is held every April 28, ended with the singing of Solidarity.

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