Every year, more than 6,000 young workers across Ontario are injured seriously enough to need time off work,; that’s equivalent to nearly 17 Ontario youth a day. There were also 17 young worker fatalities (15 to 24 years old) from 2010 to 2015.
To combat this trend, Ontario is launching several initiatives to protect young workers in seasonal, part-time or temporary employment – as more and more young people across the province are starting to look for summer jobs.
Workers that are new to their job, including young workers, are three times more likely to be injured in the first month than at any time. They are also at greater risk of having their employment standards rights violated, such as those involving unpaid wages or hours of work.
George Gritziotis, Chief Prevention Officer, said that “All injuries at the workplace are preventable. Everyone – employers, supervisors, parents, workers – has a role to play to ensure that our youth are healthy and safe, and that they know their rights and responsibilities at work.”
Ontario is one of only a few places in the world to require occupational health and safety education in schools. It is part of the curriculum from kindergarten to Grade 12. The Ministry of Labour has conducted a new and young worker health and safety blitz annually for the past eight years. This year’s blitz will be the ninth.
The Ministry of Labour’s initiatives include:
- Launching two province-wide inspection blitzes on health and safety and employment standards, focusing on protecting young workers throughout the summer
- Promoting “It’s Your Job,” a province-wide online video contest encouraging young workers to speak out about their workplace rights
- Supporting “Bring Safety Home,” a Workplace Safety & Prevention Services campaign targeting parents and other networks of young people
- Supporting the creation of #safeforlife, a youth-driven digital media campaign by Parachute Canada
Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, said: “Our youth are our future, and as such, we must ensure that we do our utmost to protect them. We need to do what we can to make sure that young workers are treated fairly at work, and are able to come home safe and sound to their families after their shifts.”