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CAUT Bulletin Archives

April 2004

The Killed, the Injured Should Not Be Forgotten

It is estimated that one out of 16 Canadians will become ill or injured in their place of work this year. Some will carry the effects for the rest of their lives. Many will lose their lives due to workplace accidents or occupational illnesses.

April 28 is the National Day of Mourning to remember dead, injured and ill colleagues and to resolve to take the measures required to prevent the 900,000 injuries that are reported in Canada each year from happening in the first place.

"Injuries and occupational disease are the hidden realities of Canada's universities and colleges," said James Turk, executive director of CAUT. "Academic work is considered 'safe,' but we have many members suffering from a wide range of disorders and diseases contracted at work."

Turk pointed to common problems among academics such as carpal tunnel syndrome, stress and infectious diseases.

"Sometimes, the disorders are fatal," Turk said. "Two colleagues in anthropology at the University of Manitoba, William Morgan and John Matthiasson, died from mesothelioma - a fairly rare cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Given the number of academic buildings in Canada that still contain asbestos, many other university staff members remain at risk."

For more information on the National Day of Mourning contact Laura Lozanski (