You’re lucky to have a job. And they’re lucky to have you.

You’re lucky to have a job. And they’re lucky to have you.

The importance of making our kids recognize that their contribution to their workplaces needs to be reciprocated with safe working conditions.

You’d think they won a lottery.

The reaction some young people have when they get the call that they’ve been hired for a summer job is nothing short of ecstatic. And to some degree it’s understandable.

Earlier this year Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office announced a net loss of 50,000 jobs in Ontario due to changes in the Employment Standards Act. Unfortunately a large proportion of these job losses affected teens and young adults.

Given the importance of summer income for many students – some of them dependent on additional financial sources to continue education, getting that call is crucial.

Along with getting a job is the importance of keeping it as long as possible, regardless of the challenges associated with it. While we need to encourage our children to get to work on time and deal with unexpected overtime, there is one area that is non-negotiable: workplace safety.

Unfortunately, there are young workers who tolerate dangerous work environments and agree to performing hazardous tasks because they fear retribution and job loss if they open their mouths.

Parents and other influencers of young people need to make sure that these young workers do not put themselves in harm’s way at any time and that they can play a role in preventing it.

The first step is to ask the right questions and listen. Is there anything unsafe in the workplace? Have any of their co-workers been injured? It’s important to also ask about psychosocial hazards like bullying or sexual harassment and other forms of harassment.

If any of these hazards are present we need to remind them of their three worker rights, including the right to refuse unsafe work. They need to know that most employers are grateful to be informed of unsafe conditions of any kind to avoid expensive fines and other fallout associated with unsafe work.

Most importantly they need to know that you support them and that no job is worth getting seriously injured for, or worse. If you are unsure of the roles and responsibilities in Ontario workplaces please visit

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