Mine workers, union representatives and other well-wishers march to Titan Park in Sparwood, B.C., on the National Day of Mourning. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

B.C. communities mark National Day of Mourning

In 2018, there were 131 work related deaths in B.C.

Workers killed or injured on the job have been honoured by communities across B.C. on the National Day of Mourning.

In the Elk Valley, dozens gathered at Titan Park in Sparwood on Sunday to remember Pat Dwyer and Stefan Falzon, who died in workplace incidents at local coal mines last year.

They were among five work-related deaths in the East Kootenay and 131 in B.C. in 2018.

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“Today is a day for us to remember and honour our fallen brothers and sisters. It is a day for us to reflect on the changes that have been made to ensure those incidents never happen again,” said United Steelworkers Local 9346 Vice President Nick Howard in Sparwood, Sunday.

“Finally, today is a day where we make the commitment to each other that we will look out for one another and ensure we all go home to our families at the end of the day.”

In a statement issued early Sunday, Premier John Horgan said no injury or death at work is acceptable.

“For most of us, working is a fact of life. Safe working conditions should be too,” he said.

“While we have made some progress in workplace safety in B.C., more work needs to be done.”

Horgan said the Province has increased access to services and compensation for first responders, correctional officers and sheriffs.

Earlier this month, the government also made regulatory changes that give emergency dispatchers, nurses and publicly funded health-care assistants easier access to compensation for mental-health disorders.

Horgan added that in the last year, WorkSafeBC increased the number of prevention and investigation inspections, and the government commissioned a review of the workers’ compensation system.

“Our government remains committed to the fair treatment of workers and employers to prevent workplace tragedies, so that everyone makes it home at the end of the day,” he said.

“In honour of those who lost their lives or suffered injuries, we will keep working to make workplaces in every corner of our province safe for everyone.”

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Dozens gathered at Titan Park in Sparwood on Sunday to honour Pat Dwyer and Stefan Falzon, who died in workplace incidents at local coal mines last year. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

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