Workers Health & Safety Centre

The Ministry of Labour has denied funding for the Young Worker Awareness Program



Health and safety laws exist to protect all workers but some, like young workers, are even more vulnerable. Young workers juggle part-time jobs and change jobs frequently. They are new to the job more often. Studies have found that workers on the job for less than one month report four times as many injuries than those on the job for one year.

With a lack of work experience and often facing hazardous working conditions and little training, it is important for young workers to know their health and safety rights from day one.

WHSC was among the first to develop resource materials and communicate with young workers about their health and safety rights. To deliver this program the WHSC partnered with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF).

Unfortunately, after 26 years of reaching thousands upon thousands of Ontario students with this potentially life-saving health and safety awareness program, the Ministry of Labour has denied funding to the WHSC for its delivery. We were advised our 2015/2016 application for funding did not fit the Ministry’s Strategic Plan and was not recognized as a “value for money” initiative.

In our final report to the Ministry covering January 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 WHSC conveyed achievements consistent with past years. These included:
  • We reached 42,797 students in 1,721 mostly small classroom-style presentations, delivered throughout the province.
  • Students have included those from vulnerable populations and attending alternative schools, aboriginal schools, schools for the disabled and schools in correctional facilities. Other vulnerable students have been reached through social agencies working with homeless and at-risk youth and recent immigrants to Canada.
  • Ninety-eight per cent and more of educators who booked the presentation rated the program as excellent or very good, said it helped them achieve curriculum objectives and would recommend the presentation to other schools.
  • While eighty-eight per cent of responding students said it was very important or important to attend this presentation.
  • Among other resources, each student benefited from a resource booklet, and a wallet card with helpful questions to ask their boss about workplace health and safety, and others explaining WHMIS and the worker right to refuse unsafe work.
  • Most important, each student had face-to-face access with a WHSC-trained, Ontario-qualified teacher – a trusted source, there to share their knowledge and answer student questions.
  • All of this was delivered at a cost of $7.00/student.

As the Ministry has also cut the core budget for our organization, WHSC does not have the means to honour requests for YWAP presentations. Thus, we are forced to suspend this important program for young workers.

To learn more about this funding crisis, please download and share the following documents.

WHSC letter to YWAP presenters and school liaisons
OTF letter of support for WHSC YWAP funding application