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This article was published 26/4/2013 (1396 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Wanda Leschyshyn brought her family to Friday's Day Of Mourning Leaders' Walk in order to celebrate her late husband's life.
"He was an ironworker," Leschyshyn said of her late husband, Allan, who went to work on the Wuskatim Dam on April 12, 2011.
"He went up there for eight days and he never came back."
Wearing bright-orange posters tied to their chests, Leschyshyn, her daughter-in-law and her grandchildren participated in the walk for the third year in a row since Leschyshyn's husband was killed on the job.
Instead of being sad, Leschyshyn wants to celebrate his life.
"We loved him. He was our world. That is the very least we could do -- to honour who he was."
The neon posters she and her family carried had pictures of Allan surrounded by heartfelt messages. Leschyshyn's granddaughter's poster read, "I LOST MY GRANDPA."
About 400 people participated in Friday's walk in advance of a national day of awareness on April 28, bringing awareness and honouring the memory of Manitoba workers who have been injured or lost their lives due to a workplace injury or illness.
But there wasn't much mourning going on as people gathered in little groups, laughing, chatting and enjoying the warmer weather minutes before the walk started.
A little after noon, everyone walked from the Union Centre down Broadway to the Manitoba legislature. On the way, students from Tec Voc High School waited at the Workers Compensation Board to join the group at the back of the line.
At the legislature, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard introduced the Five-Year Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention. Initiatives include doubling funding for injury-prevention resources, strengthening support for workers in high-trauma jobs and making safety orientation mandatory for new workers.
"It will take all of us to make this plan a reality," Howard said.
In 2012, 39 people died from workplace injuries and illnesses, and 31,018 people were injured on the job. Those were just the reported instances.
Manitoba Federation of Labour president Kevin Rebeck said many workplace injuries go unreported because workers are "worried they'll lose their job. They're in a culture where people don't report their injuries."
Rebeck said there has been a gradual decline in workplace injuries and deaths since the 1980s, but more than 30,000 injuries is still a high number.
"I think one of the biggest areas we need to focus on is doing more work on prevention," Rebeck said.
Leschyshyn said workers need to feel comfortable voicing their concerns to their employers.
"Workers themselves need to be able to say, 'I'm sorry, I'm not going up that ladder. I don't feel comfortable,' " Leschyshyn said.