For many people attending a Threads of Life family forum, it may be the first time they’ve met anyone who’s been through a similar experience of workplace tragedy. Many say it’s the first time they’ve felt free to cry; some say it’s the first time they’ve smiled or laughed in months. For all, the forum becomes a vital part of their healing.

It’s thanks to a number of committed sponsor and partner organizations that these life-changing forums can take place in Canada each year. These companies and agencies feel a strong connection to Threads of Life families, and provide funding that covers the many costs of running a weekend-long event: renting the venue, travel, accommodations and meals for families and facilitators, materials for sessions, etc.

“We often work closely with workers and their families who experience workplace tragedy, and we see the pain they experience,” says Stuart MacLean, Chief Executive Officer for WCB Nova Scotia. “Our support for the Atlantic Family Forum reflects our values of care and compassion. We’re devoted to preventing workplace tragedies, but if they do occur, we do what we can to support those whose lives are impacted. Supporting the Family Forum is one of the ways we accomplish that.”

Each year, sponsors and supporters of the forums have the opportunity to attend the opening Reflections ceremony and see first-hand the impact of their support. During the ceremony, each participant lights a candle in honour of a loved one or in recognition of his or her own injury or illness. The quiet but emotional evening is a powerful reminder of lives changed forever, and of the healing already taking place.

“We are honoured to assist with the Reflections ceremony at the Prairie Family Forum,” says Ken Stephens, Assistant Director of Operations for the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board. “We firmly believe that even one injury, illness or death is one too many. Watching the families light their candles to remember their loved one is a reminder of the importance of Mission: Zero.”

The Atlantic Family Forum takes place this weekend, and two others are scheduled for September and October.

Susan Haldane
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