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Helping to Protect Young Workers

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Helping to Protect Young Workers

Young Worker Employment Standards Inspection Blitz

Young workers, and other vulnerable workers, are more likely to be in precarious employment. Precarious employment refers to work that is seasonal, part-time or temporary. Such work is unlike a traditional employment relationship that involves a full-time, permanent arrangement with one employer. This puts young workers at greater risk of not receiving their employment standards entitlements. They may also lack the ability or the resources to understand their rights at work. 

From May 2 to June 30, 2016, the Ministry of Labour is conducting employment standards inspections of workplaces in sectors known to employ young workers. The ministry will check whether employers are complying with the Employment Standards Act, 2000. 

Employment standards officers will visit sectors such as food services, retail trade and construction. They will focus on employment standards such as hours of work, overtime pay, vacation with pay, minimum wage and public holidays. 

New and Young Worker Health and Safety Inspection Blitz

Ontario will launch a seven-week blitz to ensure students are safe and don't get injured while working at their summer jobs.

From July 18 to September 2, 2016, an enforcement blitz will target workplaces in the industrial sector where new and young workers are employed. Health and safety inspectors from the Ministry of Labour will check that employers comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Young workers are defined as those aged 14 to 24 years. New workers include "young workers" and those aged 25 and older who are on the job for less than six months or who are assigned to a new job in the same workplace.

New workers include:

  • Any new hire, either permanent or temporary, with or without experience in the industry where they are working
  • Current workers who are assigned new jobs
  • Student workers,
  • co-op placements or apprentices
  • Seasonal workers

The blitz will ensure young workers are protected by required safety measures, equipment and procedures to prevent injuries. Inspectors will also check that they are properly instructed, trained and supervised on jobs, and meet minimum age requirements."

It's Your Job" Video Contest

Every year - for the past four years -  Ontario has held an online video contest encouraging secondary school students to speak out about their workplace health and safety rights.

The Ministry of Labour, along with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, announced the top three winners of the provincial contest on April 25, 2016. Students from Markham, Ottawa and Kingston have placed first, second and third, respectively, beating out dozens of entries from across the province.

The winning videos depict:
  • A student spiraling out of control as accumulated stress takes a toll on her mental health
  • A young worker exercising his workplace rights amid potentially unsafe conditions
  • A young apprentice electrician learning an important lesson about safety on the job.

The winners and respective schools receive cash prizes of up to $2,000. The first-place video also placed second in the national "It's Your Job" contest, where it competed with the top videos from other provinces and territories.

View the winning videos at Ontario.ca/videocontest.

Parachute Canada's #safe4life Campaign

#safe4life is a digital media campaign on young worker safety developed by Parachute, a national injury prevention charity. Created with youth, for youth, #safe4life leverages the power of social media to engage the target audience and deliver campaign ideas in an innovative way, including peer-to-peer messaging from well-known Ontario youth YouTuber and blogger, Michael Rizzi. His YouTube channel boasts more than 110,000 subscribers.

The campaign is supported by a financial grant from the Ministry of Labour.

Bring Safety Home Campaign

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services has announced a new awareness campaign targeting the parents, friends, relatives, coaches, teachers and other support networks of young people as a way to make work safer for Ontario's youth.

Bring Safety Home, a web-based and social media driven initiative, will feature highly visual digital content such as blogs, videos and other social media posts. Bring Safety Home will officially launch in June 2016, at which time campaign resources will be available at bringsafetyhome.com and on Twitter @BringSafetyHome.

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services is a key member of Ontario's health and safety system, and is partly funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

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