Five deaths a day: workplace fatalities in Canada, 1993-2005

December 12, 2006 (Toronto, ON) More than 1,000 deaths in Canada were attributed to work-related causes in 2005, according to a new report from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS). This translates to about five deaths every working day. One half of these deaths were due to traumatic causes and one half were due to occupational diseases.

The CSLS report is based on an analysis of fatalities compensated by provincial workers' compensation boards in Canada. Over the time period of the study, from 1993 to 2005, occupational deaths due to traumatic causes declined only slightly, from 3.2 deaths per 100,000 workers in 1997 to 2.9 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2004.

In every province in Canada, the decline in traumatic workplace fatalities over the past decade has lagged behind almost all other measures of population health improvement, says Dr. Cameron Mustard, President of the Institute for Work & Health. We need to be very concerned that there are workplaces in Canada failing to ensure that workers are protected from the risk of death.

Dr. Mustard also notes that the increase in deaths attributed to occupational disease, such as cancers, from 1993 to 2005 reflect in part an increased effort by many workers' compensation agencies to improve the recognition and compensation of these fatalities. The recognition of occupational disease, which in many cases arose from workplace exposures 20 to 30 years before death, will be an important priority for provincial workers' compensation agencies in the years ahead.

To see a copy of the full research paper, please visit the Centre's website at

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards is a non-profit, national, independent organization that seeks to contribute to a better understanding of trends in and determinants of productivity, living standards and economic and social well-being through research.

About the Institute for Work & Health

IWH is an independent, not-for-profit research organization that aims to protect and improve the health of working people. Recognized as one of the top five occupational health and safety research centres in the world, the Institute provides practical and relevant findings on the prevention of work injury and disability to policy-makers, workers, employers, clinicians, and health, safety and disability management professionals.

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