Manitoba politicians and labour leaders mourn workers killed on the job, recommit to safety

Government and labour leaders gathered in downtown Winnipeg Friday for a walk in recognition of workers who have been killed or suffered injury or illness on the job.

Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, was joined by — among others — Premier Wab Kinew, labour minister Malaya Marcelino, and acting Workers Compensation Board CEO Cathy Skinner in the walk to the city’s Memorial Park.

The MFL said there are over 1,000 Canadians who die as a result of workplaces injuries and illnesses each year, with 22 Manitoba workers losing their lives in 2023.

Half of Manitoba’s workplace deaths last year, Rebeck said, were from occupational diseases due to exposure to chemicals and other harmful materials — such as asbestos — over long periods of time during their working lives.

“Each one of these deaths represents a family member, friend and co-worker who never made it home or spent their final
years battling an occupational disease,” said Rebeck.

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“While today is about mourning, it is also about recommitting ourselves to making workplaces safer to prevent these tragic losses in the future.”

Click to play video: 'First responders gather at Manitoba legislature to honour late firefighter'

First responders gather at Manitoba legislature to honour late firefighter

In an official statement from the province, Kinew and Marcelino said there’s still a lot of work to be done toward improving workplace safety — particularly as it relates to mental health and the toll it can take on people like firefighters and other first responders.

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“Today’s about honouring the people who we’ve lost on the job this year and paying our respects,” Kinew told Global News, “and also remembering what we can do on health and safety so that everyone who goes to work can come home safe at the end of their shift.”

Click to play video: 'Workplace injuries on the rise, as Manitoba unions raise concerns over safety'

Workplace injuries on the rise, as Manitoba unions raise concerns over safety

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