Ontario NDP MPP Percy Hatfield (Windsor-Tecumseh) private member’s bill, An Act to proclaim a Workers Day of Mourning, received Second Reading on Thursday, April 7th.
Percy was joined in the Legislature by union representatives, including the Society, and victims’ rights groups from across Ontario, as well as the family of David Ellis – an 18-year old young man from Oakville who lost his life on his second day at work. David’s father and sister started MySafeWork a non-profit registered charity in 1999 to promote workplace safety in David’s memory.
Hatfield’s legislation calls on all government-funded institutions to lower their flags to half-mast to show respect and pay tribute to those who have been injured or have lost their life while at work.
This prominent visual signal will also help to increase awareness of the day and issues of workplace health and safety with the public. The debate that ensued showed that both the Government and Opposition are in full support of Bill 180. In his closing remarks Hatfield asked for the Government to move on getting the legislation passed as quickly as possible.
April 28 is the annual Day of Mourning. It was on this day in 1914 when the majority Conservative government of Sir James Whitney passed the Workman’s Compensation Act. The day will be marked in members’ workplaces across Ontario.