Ontario has lowest young worker injury rate

In brief

  • Youth injury rates vary by province, even when comparing rates in the same type of job.
  • Differences in education, legislation, enforcement and exposure to hazards across provinces may affect injury rates. For example, youth in Ontario, which had the lowest overall youth injury rate, are more likely to work in large firms, which tend to have more safety resources. Ontario also has stronger legal protections for workers and higher penalties for infractions than Atlantic or Western provinces.

Why was this study done?

Most research on youth injury in the workplace has focused on factors associated with young workers and the job. However, work injury rates may also vary in different jurisdictions. Researchers looked at injury rates in different Canadian provinces to identify additional factors that might contribute to workplace injury by jurisdiction, such as legislation.

How was the study done?

The researchers used information from the Canadian Community Health Survey. This national health survey, conducted in 2000/2001, also included questions about work injury. A total of 14,541 people aged 15-24 who had worked in the previous year were included in the study sample. Among this group, researchers identified 511 young people who had been injured at work. Details about the nature of injury, type of job, school status, hours of work and other relevant information were gathered.

What did the researchers find?

The highest injury rates were in jobs in trade and transportation, farming/fishing/forestry and manufacturing. The lowest rates were in administrative and sales/service jobs. This is consistent with past research. Saskatchewan had the highest injury rate. It was double the rate in Ontario, which had the lowest overall rate. These differences happened even in the same type of job in different provinces. Overall, visible minorities, students, teenagers and young women were less likely to be injured than their counterparts.

What are some strengths and weaknesses of the study?

The survey involved a large number of young workers from across Canada, and likely represents the experiences of all young workers. One limitation is that the findings are based on reports by young workers, who may not accurately recall events or identify an injury as being work-related.

Publication Information

Title: 

Young people and work injuries: an examination of jurisdictional variation within Canada

Author(s): 

Breslin FC, Smith P, Mustard C, Zhao R

Journal: 

Injury Prevention, 2006: vol. 12, pp. 105-110