EXTENDING OHSA PROTECTIONS TO CO-OP STUDENTS & OTHER UNPAID LEARNERS

leanersMESSAGE FROM ONTARIO’S CHIEF PREVENTION OFFICER

The Ontario Legislature has passed the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, which extends the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to unpaid co-op students and other unpaid learners.

It received Royal Assent on November 20, 2014.

Unpaid students, learners and trainees are now defined as “workers” under the OHSA, and have the same rights and duties as the paid workers they work alongside.

They now have key rights under the OHSA, such as the right to know about workplace hazards and the right to refuse unsafe work.

They have the same duties as paid workers, such as working in compliance with the OHSA and its regulations, operating equipment safely, and reporting any hazards or contraventions to the employer or supervisor.

Unpaid co-op students participating in a work placement program approved by a school board or post-secondary institution, deserve the same health and safety protections as every other worker.

Protecting young workers

Many co-op students and other unpaid learners are under the age of 25. It’s important that they are properly trained, and know their rights and responsibilities. After all, new and young workers are three times more likely to be injured during the first month on the job than at any other time.

Visit http://ontario.ca/youngworkers to learn how to protect young workers at the workplace.

For more information on other amendments in the act, please visit the ministry’s website.

Information to help protect you is available online at the Ministry of Labour and from the Ministry of Labour’s workplace partners.

To report unsafe work practices, please contact the Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-202-0008.