April 28, 2019 is the International Day of Mourning which commemorates workers who were injured or killed on the job and pushes for better improved safety in the workplace.
Local labour groups and the Waterloo Regional Labour Council (WRLC) are holding an event at Victoria Park slated for 10:30 a.m. Sunday with a number of speakers expected.
Kelly Dick, President of WRLC says the event isn't just for workers, but for the entire community.
"We get together with families, we get together with people that are impacted in our community to bring awareness to the community that health-safety practices within the workplace are probably one of the most important things that we can have to protect our workers," she says.
Dick adds many incidents Canadian workers face, whether it be injuries, illness or even death, are "always preventable."
The International Day of Mourning raises awareness about the importance of the labour movement and changing workplace safety regulations.
Dick says, lately the Waterloo labour community has had growing concerns over the Ford government's role in the workplace. In particular, the $13 million cut to the Ministry of Labour in the Ontario budget.
The removal of the Toxic Reduction Act has also caused concerns.
"Which we know, in some industries, it's not always the greatest practice to have the employer policing themselves in different issues like this," says Dick.
She adds one of the most important things young workers should take away from the International Day of Mourning, is to "make sure you know your rights."
"If you find yourself in a situation in your job where you feel unsafe and you're not feeling you've been trained enough to use equipment or chemicals, you have the right to refuse," says Dick. "You have the right to know, and you have the right to participate on Health and Safety committees."
The WRLC represents 33 local unions that include workers in construction, office administration, health care, teachers and postal workers.
Local MPs, MPPs and Regional Councillors are also expected to attend Sunday's event.