Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 101, Issue 5, pp 380–384 | Cite as

Workplace Experiences of Young Workers in Ontario

  • John H. LewkoEmail author
  • Carol W. Runyan
  • Cindy-Lynne S. Tremblay
  • John A. Staley
  • Richard Volpe
Quantitative Research



We examine the workplace experiences of Ontario youth in the service sector, with a particular interest in hazard exposures, safety training and supervision.


A cross-sectional telephone survey in 2008 of working youth aged 14–18. Items queried respondents about the tasks performed, worker training and supervision. The study parallels one already published in the US. This is the first Canadian study of its kind.


Although teens reported working more hours during vacation, a substantial number of youth are working at least 20 hours per week when school is in session, and many reported having worked after 11 pm on a night before school. Young workers engaged in a variety of hazardous tasks, including heavy lifting, using sharp objects, working with hot equipment, or working around falling objects. A small subset (7.5%) of teens had suffered an injury at work that was severe enough to cause them to miss a day of school or work or require medical attention. The majority of workers had received training on how to use equipment safely and how to avoid an injury. More females than males received training. Although regular check-ins were common, many youth (38%) said they had worked at least part of the day without supervision. Young females were most likely to work without supervision or to work alone.


This study questions whether the regulations in Ontario are sufficient to protect young workers from exposures to work-related hazards.

Key words

Safety youth workplace hazards training supervision 



Examiner le travail des jeunes de l’Ontario dans le secteur des services en nous attachant particulièrement à l’exposition aux risques, à la formation SST et à la supervision.


Enquête téléphonique transversale menée en 2008 auprès de jeunes travailleurs de 14 à 18 ans. Les questions portaient sur les tâches effectuées, la formation des travailleurs et la supervision. L’étude s’inspire d’une étude parue aux États-Unis. C’est la première du genre au Canada.


Les adolescents disent travailler plus d’heures durant les vacances, mais un bon nombre travaillent au moins 20 heures par semaine durant l’année scolaire, et beaucoup disent travailler passé 23 h même quand ils ont de l’école le lendemain. Ces jeunes effectuent des tâches diverses, dont soulever des objets lourds, manipuler des objets tranchants, travailler avec de l’équipement chaud ou travailler autour d’objets qui tombent. Un petit sous-groupe (7,5 %) avait subi au des blessures suffisamment graves au travail pour manquer un jour d’école ou de travail ou pour nécessiter une visite médicale. La majorité des travailleurs est formée à l’utilisation sécuritaire de l’équipement et à la prévention des accidents. Plus de filles que de garçons reçoivent une formation. Les vérifications périodiques sont courantes, mais beaucoup de jeunes (38 %) disent travailler au moins une partie de la journée sans supervision. Les filles sont plus susceptibles de travailler seules ou sans supervision.


Cette étude met en doute le fait que la réglementation ontarienne protège suffisamment les jeunes travailleurs contre les accidents du travail.

Mots clés

sécurité jeunes lieu de travail dangers formation supervision 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Lewko
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carol W. Runyan
    • 1
  • Cindy-Lynne S. Tremblay
    • 2
  • John A. Staley
    • 3
  • Richard Volpe
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for Research in Human DevelopmentLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada
  2. 2.University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center and Gillings School of Global Public HealthChapel HillCanada
  3. 3.Department of Health Policy and Management, College of Public HealthKent State UniversityKentCanada
  4. 4.Life Span Adaptation Projects, Institute of Child Study and Department of Human Development and Applied PsychologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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