The holiday season has brought heartache for a New Brunswick family that saw their son die after he was badly injured at his workplace.

Wanny Pelletier, 17, sustained a major leg injury while at a lumber and pellet mill just three days before Christmas.

In a statement, Manon Arsenault of WorkSafeNB confirmed his death and says they are investigating.

“The investigation will help WorkSafeNB determine how the fatality may have been prevented and whether there were any violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act or its regulations,” the statement reads.

“WorkSafeNB expresses its sincere condolences to Mr. Pelletier's family, friends and co-workers.”

Wanny’s family says he was proud of his Maliseet heritage and well-loved by the community in and around Saint Quentin, N.B.

In a statement, Trish Bernard, Chief of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation of which Wanny was a member, said sadness has swept over the community:

“He was a sweet young man from our community with many cousins, aunts, uncles and his father and grandmother living on reserve,” Bernard said in the statement. “He was proud of his Maliseet culture and was one of a few young men to build our last traditional birch bark canoe in the summer of 2015.  He will be missed.”

New Brunswick RCMP say unless something in the investigation takes a turn, RCMP will only be assisting WorkSafeNB with the investigation at this time.

Wanny’s death marks five workplace fatalities in New Brunswick in 2016. The Canadian Union for Public Employees says this year was tough for workers' health and safety, particularly violence in the workplace.

“We don't have legislation in New Brunswick that deals with that, and it's become problematic in many sectors,” said CUPE New Brunswick president Danny Legere. “We're seeing it in healthcare, in nursing homes, in education.”

Legere says he'll be working to ensure 2017 will be a safer year for everyone, and he’ll be remembering those lost in 2016.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.