Today marks the National Day of Mourning across the country to honour those who lost their lives, suffered injury or illness on the job.
Traditionally on April 28th the Canadian flag has flown at half-mast on Parliament Hill and on all federal government buildings.
Employers and workers observe the Day of Mourning in a variety of ways with lit candles, laid wreaths, wearing commemorative pins, ribbons or black armbands, and a pause for a moment of silence.
In Lethbridge a special wreath laying ceremony took place. Unfortunately, a total of 161 Albertans died due to a workplace injury or illness in 2022.
Wendy-Ellen Nittel is a founding member on the board of directors for a group called Threads of Life. She explained that she lost her son Blaine in a workplace accident after his work truck went into a ditch and flipped over.
She says it has touched her heart to see others come down to show their support today including other members of Threads of Life.
“There’s another Threads of Life family member here today who I’ve been her volunteer family guide. And to hear someone have the same story helps you because there’s so many people out there. When Blaine died, we could have gone for grief counseling. And I have nothing against the counselor, but grief counseling in Medicine Hat includes death, divorce. They’re both grief. And you do grieve a relationship. But to me, that wasn’t the same thing.”
According to the City of Lethbridge the National Day of Mourning was officially recognized by the Canadian government in 1991. Since then, the day has spread to around 80 countries who have now joined together to observe the somber day.