MRO Magazine

Memorial quilt focuses on young workers’ health and safety

Toronto, ON -- Apr. 4, 2002 -- An important national initiative aimed at raising awareness of the need to protect t...

Health & Safety

April 4, 2002
By MRO Magazine

Toronto, ON — Apr. 4, 2002 — An important national initiative aimed at raising awareness of the need to protect the health and safety of young workers was launched recently in Toronto. Known as the LifeQuilt, this testament will be a permanent memorial dedicated to the thousands of young Canadian women and men between the ages of 15 and 24 who have been seriously or fatally injured on the job.

Although the quilt is a work in progress, its focal image was unveiled to the public at the launch. The image depicts a figure holding its hands to the heavens. It will eventually be overlaid with thousands of organza ribbons imprinted with the name, age and type of injury suffered by a young worker. One hundred quilt blocks will surround this image, each conveying the life story of the victim of a fatal workplace injury. The finished quilt will measure 9 ft by 18 ft.

In the past two years in Canada, 120,000 young workers have been injured seriously enough to require time off work and over 100 young people have been killed as a result of hazardous working conditions.

On hand at the official launch of this project was Rob Ellis, honourary chair of the Friends of the LifeQuilt, a group of volunteers including Toronto visual artist Laurie Swim, who first conceived of the project. Ellis’ son David was killed in a workplace incident in 1999 at age 18. Ellis has made it his life’s work to educate the public about the issue of young worker health and safety. The story of his son is featured on one of the quilt’s commemorative blocks.


“Others need to know so that they can prevent a similar tragedy,” he said.

Once completed, the quilt will be taken on a national community awareness tour. In order to reach this goal, the Friends of the LifeQuilt are asking for the help of the public, both individuals and organizations, for their help in building the memorial.

The project is relying on volunteer support plus financial and in-kind donations. Also, affected young workers and their families are invited to participate in the quilt, either by offering their own name and injury for inclusion in the focal piece, or by honouring the life of a loved one in one of the commemorative blocks.

Those wishing to learn more about this worthwhile project and how to support it can refer to the LifeQuilt web site at or call 800-669-4939, ext. 458.

Or, for more information, contact Sin Gibson, Friends of the LifeQuilt/Industrial Accident Prevention Association, tel. (416) 506-8888, ext. 306, e-mail or Loretta Michaud, Friends of the LifeQuilt/Workers Health and Safety Centre, tel. (416) 441-1939, e-mail

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