About Us

Each worker and family member who has been affected by a workplace tragedy is a thread in the quilt of life.

Bringing hope and healing

The Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support, known as Threads of Life, is a Canadian registered charity dedicated to supporting families after a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease. Our network of family members and corporate partners believes traumatic workplace injuries, occupational diseases and deaths are preventable.

Our mission, vision and values capture what we do and aim to achieve. We are guided by a board of directors comprised of family members affected by workplace tragedy and experts from Canada’s workplace health and safety community. Our work is accomplished by volunteers, and we document our progress in annual reports.

two women hugging

What is workplace tragedy?

On any given workday in Canada, three people will die from a job-related fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease. Even one is too many.

These individuals leave behind families, friends and co-workers devastated by this tragic loss and woven together by a need for grief counseling, crisis intervention support, healthy coping skills, assistance with workplace investigations and inquiries, community building, and a common voice to help prevent other Canadian families from experiencing the same pain and suffering.

Who belongs to Threads of Life

We welcome everyone affected by a workplace tragedy, including family members, friends, and co-workers. Members come from all regions of Canada, all walks of life, and all age groups. Even so, Threads of Life is a club no one wants to join.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a workplace fatality, or have a loved one affected by a life-altering injury or occupational disease, Threads of Life offers supportive programs and services to help you on your journey.

Family members currently receiving support services

Man and young boy with sign

One member’s story

Mine worker Bob Quarrel sustained lifelong injuries when the brakes of an underground elevator failed, dropping him 170 feet. But Bob’s greatest injury came with the workplace death of his 27-year-old son Tyler, who suffocated under the weight of an 800-lb slab of granite. To prevent other families from experiencing similar grief, Bob shares his story as a member of our Speakers Bureau. He also works one on one with members as a volunteer family guide.

How Threads of Life came about

Before Threads of Life, there was a major gap in the health and safety systems, and social systems in Canada. When a tragedy occurred in the workplace, there was no voice for the family within the investigation or legal process, and no hotline or group to provide emotional support. Threads of Life was created to fill that gap. As the first organization in the world to offer a peer support program for family members living in the aftermath of a workplace tragedy, we’re also a model for similar organizations in other countries.

Many of Threads of Life’s first family members connected to us through the Canadian Young Worker LifeQuilt, a memorial tapestry begun in 2002 that honours young workers killed or hurt on the job. One hundred blocks on the quilt feature the stories of one hundred young workers.

Learn more about our origins and progress since 2003.

More information about Threads of Life