Queen’s Park – NDP MPP Percy Hatfield’s bill requiring flags to be lowered on all Ontario government and public sector buildings on Workers Day of Mourning unanimously passed Second Reading in the Ontario legislature today with a standing ovation.
“With this bill we intend to increase the public’s awareness of the Workers Day of Mourning. We intend to promote workplace safety, and we want to see more respect paid to injured workers,” Hatfield said.
Bill 180, an Act to proclaim a Workers Day of Mourning, standardizes the way Ontario acknowledges the significance of the day. The bill requires that all Canadian and Ontario flags outside the legislative building, government of Ontario buildings and other public sector buildings such as city and town halls, schools, universities, colleges and hospitals be flown at half-mast on the Day of Mourning, April 28 of each year.
“The lowered flag is a powerful symbol of our respect for the day of mourning, our shared loss, and our commitment to worker safety. It shows we care. It demonstrates we care for their surviving family members as well,” Hatfield said. “Lowering the flag is a sign of dignity – a symbol of respect – and a call for justice.”
Hatfield provided a tragic example of workplace danger. “In Oakville – at a bakery – 18-year-old David Ellis – his second day on the job. No training. No supervision. Left alone of the shop floor. He was cleaning an industrial mixer. A mixer– that had been previously designated as faulty by a Ministry inspector, a mixer, on which the bakery failed to install a low cost safety device. A mixer that was accidentally activated – and David Ellis was sucked in head first – and killed – on his second day at work,” Hatfield said.“ That was 17 years ago, and we still have young people dying on the job in Ontario every year since.”
Members of David’s family came to Queen’s Park this morning to support this bill and to continue their on-going campaign for safer work places in our province.