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May 9th, 2024

NDP statement on the 32nd anniversary of the Westray mine disaster

NDP Labour critic MP Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre) made the following statement:

“Today marks the tragic 32nd anniversary of the Westray Mine Disaster.

Twenty-six miners lost their lives in a preventable workplace tragedy. Lives changed forever, and families' worlds turned upside down as their loved ones never came home.

This disaster catalyzed the Westray Act, which created a legal framework for workplace health and safety.

It imposed serious penalties, including criminal prosecutions. This would hold employers accountable for their negligence, which led to workplace deaths.

Unfortunately, 1,000 workers still die on the job each year. The Liberals have not taken the proper steps to educate law enforcement about the legislation. If this government wants to support workers, it should launch an educational campaign to ensure every person investigating workplace deaths knows about the legal tools available to them. We also must extend the legislation to cover all sectors where workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries occur.

As a result, few employers are held accountable, and health and safety in the workplace still needs improvement.

New Democrats will keep fighting to see the Westray Act enforced because one worker who dies on the job is too many. We will keep fighting for safer working conditions for all Canadians.”