The Watering Hole Blog

Thirteen Thousand Workplace Deaths

Guess How Many Workplace Deaths There Were in Canada Between 2000 & 2013?


How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind

Bob Dylan, Blowin’ in the Wind

Actually, Bob, in the case of workplace fatalities in Canada…the answer is blowin’ in the on-line archives of the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada website.

And it ain’t pretty. Then again, death rarely is.

Between 2000 and 2013, 13,541 Canadians died on the job (or from job-related injuries or illness/disease).

If this statistic doesn’t shock or concern you, then read no further…you’re not my target audience.

If, however, you are even remotely moved by the fact that more than thirteen thousand people have died because of their job in Canada, then read on.

Tuesday April 28th is Canada’s National Day of Mourning, a day to remember those who have lost their lives to work-related incidents or occupational disease. I am thankful for the day…not so appreciative of the reason for it’s existence.

I was married to one of those 13,541 Canadians who died on the job – and believe me, statistics are no longer simply numbers when your favourite person is counted among them.

John & Maryanne on beach

His name was John Petropoulos and he fell to his death on September 29th, 2000, as the result of a missing safety railing. John, a Calgary police officer, had been investigating a break and enter complaint at a warehouse, when he stepped through an unmarked false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and hit his head on the concrete.

He was 32.

Over the past 15 years, I have worked closely with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund to help raise public awareness about why and how people can make their workplaces safer for everyone, including emergency responders who may have to attend.

Unfortunately, the simple fact that 13,540 other Canadians (plus the thousand or so more in 2014 & 2015) have died since John’s death, tells us there is still a great deal of work to be done.

How can you help?

Take a moment to take a look around your workplace. Is it safe? If not, make a change…or speak up. Your compassion and courage could help the death toll from rising even further.

Because trust me, as important as work is, having your loved one come home from work is far more important.

For further tips on how you can make your workplace safe for everyone, you can view a 10-minute safety video at

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the playwright of Saviour. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of theJohn Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here


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