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Opinion | Apr 27, 2018

Let Us Mourn Our Workers

...April 28, Workers Day of Mourning in Canada

Eddie Kan, reported to work as chef at the Copacabana restaurant in Toronto on April 22, 2018.

Around 1:00 p.m. he probably went out for a breather just like other workers who go out for lunch, visitors touring and students going for a walk on the busy Yonge and Finch street in Toronto.

He together with the nine other pedestrians were not lucky as the van attacker now identified as 25 year old Alek Minassian in a rented van killed them instantly on the said date.

The April 22, incident is not the first time that workers have been injured or killed whiles performing their duties or taking a break.

Four construction workers died when rehabilitating an apartment building and a scaffolding collapsed on Christmas Eve 2009.

In March 2007, a van carrying farm workers overturned on a stretch of highway in Abbotsford, B.C. Of the 17 people on board, three died, and the others suffered injuries.

These and many other stories of how some workers reported to work but never return keeps happening every day in our lives in Canada.

April 28 is the Workers Safety and Insurance Board [WSIB] day of mourning the worker in Toronto-Canada. It is a day set aside to mourn workers who reported to work at various fields but never went back to their families like Kan.

In order to live a responsible life in Canada, one must work to earn wages or salaries and so every morning, afternoon, evening and night, you see several people going to and from work which make them prone to accidents, diseases and sometimes death.

Like the ten fallen victims of the van attack, they woke up the morning of April 22, reported to work, took their break to take a breather or lunch without predicting their end of life that afternoon.

Just like other workers who went to work and pass away through work place accidents which also resulted in death.

It is unfortunate that six days prior to the marking of this year’s day of mourning the worker such a terrific incident occurred in Toronto.

Car accidents is reported to be the number one cause of death presently. However accidents through use of cell phones has also been identified as a major cause of death these days.

As a witness I recall an incident where a passenger on Toronto Transit Commission TTC commuter bus fell violently at a stop. Chatting on his cellphone with his headphones on, he did not pay attention whiles coming off and missed a step which sent him hitting his head to a post of the bus shelter.

Another incident also unfolded where a passenger with her headphones on didn’t hear another passenger speak to her to shift and him pass to get off the bus.

She was pushed violently by the offending passenger which raised tempers only for the bus driver to calm everyone down.

As we mourn workers who died on their jobs in Canada on April 28, let us use the occasion to advice all and sundry against the use of cellphones whiles performing our duties at work, crossing streets as pedestrians, whiles cooking dishes at the kitchen or driving on the roads.

May 1, is celebrated as the Labour Day in Ghana where the president will salute gallant workers.

We should remember several workers who left their families to work but never came back home to their families like those victims who died through the atomic gas explosion disaster in Accra Ghana.

We will remember them.

Stephen A. Quaye
Stephen A. Quaye, © 2018

This author has authored 305 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: StephenAQuaye

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