Rob Ellis and Toronto District School Board deliver young worker health and safety message to students

Archived Release

Rob Ellis and Toronto District School Board deliver young worker health and safety message to students

Leading Executives And Students Brought Together To Talk Safety TORONTO, May 3 - Well-known young worker health and safety advocate Rob Ellis is joining with the Toronto District School Board and executives from some of Ontario's leading corporations, in an innovative forum, to bring the vital message of workplace safety to Toronto students, Ontario Labour Minister Chris Bentley said today. "Mr. Ellis has been a tireless advocate of this important issue since losing his own son, Dave, as a result of a workplace incident in 1999," said Bentley. "By bringing decision-makers together with our next generation of workers and business leaders we can raise awareness of this serious issue and find new ways to improve workplace health and safety." A videotaped presentation of Ellis discussing the issues of safety in the workplace will be simultaneously shown in schools in the Toronto District School Board on May 6, 2005. Afterward, students will be able to address the president and senior executives from one of ten participating companies in a question and answer period. These executive "champions" will then gather for a luncheon at Central Tech to discuss the impact of the event, and the future of occupational health and safety in Canada. This event is one of a number taking place across Ontario as part of North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, May 2 to 6, 2005. Young worker injury and fatality rates are traditionally higher than that of the overall workforce, with new workers six times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time in their working lives. "We have made good progress through the efforts of Ellis and his group, Our Youth at Work Association, in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and other health and safety partners," said Bentley. A recent report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information showed Ontario led the country in reducing serious young worker injuries with a 45 per cent decrease between 1999 and 2003. Rates in all other Canadian jurisdictions except Quebec, either stayed the same or increased during this period. Quebec's rate decreased by 12 per cent. A number of important steps have been taken to address this serious issue to date: - The Ministry of Labour launched WorkSmartOntario - an Internet portal for young workers that has been instrumental in establishing health and safety education in Ontario secondary schools and supporting teachers with an extensive set of Live Safe! Work Smart! resources to support their lessons. - Ellis and the Our Youth at Work Association have visited schools across Ontario raising awareness. - Passport to Safety, a national health and safety awareness test, was launched by Paul Kells whose son Sean was killed in a workplace explosion 10 years ago. The program is well established in Ontario and other Canadian jurisdictions. "The over-riding concern of the government is to ensure that the health and safety of every worker is never compromised," said Bentley. "Young workers deserve our special attention to keep them safe on the job today and to ensure they can enjoy long, safe and productive careers." For more information on this event, Rob Ellis and the Our Youth at Work Association, visit www.ouryouthatwork.com, or call 519-453-5917. For more information about NAOSH Week and other events taking place, go to www.naosh.org. For more information about young worker health and safety and other work-related issues, go to www.WorkSmartOntario.gov.on.ca. Disponible en fran├žais www.gov.on.ca/lab/For further information: Contacts: Jennifer Norman, Minister's Office, (416) 327-3748; Belinda Sutton, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405