Last week, Canada’s Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch spoke to students at the College of the North Atlantic about the necessity of educating and empowering young people.
Many of the students who listened to the speech are hoping to one day become health and safety professionals, and the Minister wants young people to feel empowered to become workplace health and safety experts, so as to protect themselves while they are on the job.
After the speech, the Minister held a meeting with a number of students, where she asked their views on the challenges young workers face with regard to occupational health and safety, especially with regard to their lack of experience, their fear of speaking up, and even the importance of eliminating the stigma that surrounds workplace mental health issues.
All of these issues are important, from a health and safety standpoint. While the injury rate among workers aged 15-24 years in federally regulated workplaces declined by about 8 per cent per year between 2005 and 2011, workers in that age group were still more likely to be injured on the job than all other workers. In 2013, more than 30,000 workers in that age group were injured seriously enough to require time off.