Day of Mourning Speach – Sandra Snider, Thunder Bay and District Labour Council

On this the National Day of Mourning we mourn the dead and fight for the living.  We first gathered in the year 1984 in Sudbury and today we are gathering around the world.

On Behalf of the Thunder Bay and District Labour Council I welcome all of you here on this important day.  I thank the organizing committee for their hard work.

When I think of Injured Workers who have been denied their benefits under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and are left in an appeal system without assistance, I am thankful to have my union.  The Ontario Worker Adviser was established to help both unionized and non-unionized workers with appeals.  Under Mike Harris, Unions were removed from the list of those people to be helped by the OWA.  Then in 2015 without the fanfare the Ontario Worker Adviser (OWA) stopped taking any new cases, period.  This program, essential to workers unable to unionize, is administered by the Ontario Government while funded by WSIB. Why does the administrator of this program allow WSIB to under fund this important program. 

Did you know that exposure to Asbestos can cause numerous fatal disease. Of course you did.  Did you know that over 2,000 people die in Canada every year from diseases caused by exposure to Asbestos?

Even though we know that Asbestos kills, we continue to import items with Asbestos.  Even though we know asbestos kills imports of brake pads and Cement pipes is increasing. We do this even though a company in Guelph builds asbestos free brakes and Asbestos kills.

Canada can take a giant step forward with a comprehensive ban on asbestos to make all of our workplaces, homes and public spaces safer and healthier. Do it because Asbestos kills or do it because it will create jobs in Langley B.C. or do it because diseases caused by exposure to asbestos can kill.

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