The flags in front of City Hall were lowered to half-mast today to mark the National Day of Mourning.
Inside, at the physically distanced City Council public hearing, Mayor Don Iveson paid tribute to the women and men who have lost their lives, been injured or who are facing illness as a result of their jobs or a work-related incident.
“Tragically, each loss is felt deeply throughout communities and households,” said Iveson.
“Today, we honour the lives of those we have lost and we recommit ourselves to protect the living.”
A minute of silence and reflection was observed at 11 a.m.
Mayor Iveson officially declared April 28, 2020, the Day of Mourning in Edmonton, and issued a proclamation that closed with the need to “reflect and recommit to establishing safe conditions in the workplace so that everyone can return home to their loved ones when their work is done.”
“Every day we are faced with choices”
Gord Cebryk is the City of Edmonton’s Deputy City Manager of City Operations. Cebryk said the Day of Mourning reminds people that safety is something actively chosen, not something that just happens.
“I have heard family and friends speak about how their lives have been changed forever, and how severe injuries affect daily activities that we take for granted,” Cebryk said.
“Every day we are faced with choices, and every day we need to choose to be safe.”
“I have been with people in that pain”
John Dowds is the City of Edmonton’s Lead Chaplain, Senior Mental Health Consultant. Dowds said taking time to reflect and recommit today is an investment in avoiding unspeakable anguish in the future.
“Today is important because it is about people and the impact that safe and unsafe practices can have on people and those who love them,” said Dowds.
“Losing someone as a result of a workplace accident can be painful beyond words. I have been with people in the midst of that pain. Let’s do all that we can to prevent such tragedies.”
Safety in pandemic
The Day of Mourning happening during a pandemic reinforces the vital importance of a safety mindset and safety practices, Iveson said.
“This year we find ourselves in the midst of global pandemic, where, each day, workers are putting their health at risk so we can buy food and supplies and so we can stay healthy and safe,” said Iveson.
“We are standing face to face with the dangerous realities of what could happen if we don’t take workplace safety seriously.”
Tonight, the High Level Bridge in Edmonton will be lit orange to mark the Day of Mourning.