Saskatoon StarPhoenix

31 workers who died on the job honoured


Friday was a sombre day for labourers in Saskatchew­an, the province that leads the nation in workplace deaths.

Each year, April 28 marks the National Day of Mourning to honour people who were killed or injured on the job. Vigils were planned for at least six communitie­s across the province, including in Saskatoon and Regina.

In 2016, as recognized by the Workers’ Compensati­on Board (WCB), 31 people died in Saskatchew­an workplaces or from longterm ailments resulting from Saskatchew­an workplaces — 13 deaths were due to asbestos exposure or mesothelio­ma.

“We cringe every time we hear of somebody dying on the job and it happened 31 times last year,” said Ken Kubian, president of the Regina and District Labour Council.

Seven of the people actually died in 2015, but WCB only accepted the claims last year.

“It’s sort have been a trend in the last few years, is that it’s been young workers and it’s been very tragic,” said Lori Johb, Saskatchew­an Federation of Labour secretary-treasurer.

Six of those who died in 2016 were under age 30: Austyn Schenstead, 19, of Warman; Chad Wiklun, 29, of Saskatoon; Dustin Pratt, 27, of Estevan; Joel Fersch, 29, of Regina; Eric Ndayishimi­ye, 21, of Saskatoon; and Marie Janvier, 21, of La Loche.

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