Ontario workplaces are the safest in the country and among the safest in the world but accidents do happen and a high percentage of the accidents involve young people.
“We know that young workers are at the highest risk for workplace injury and death so it is great to get in there and tell them about their rights and responsibilities,” said Kelly Schafer, executive director of the Career Education Council for Guelph Wellington Dufferin.
Schafer and members of the CEC team joined Guelph MPP Liz Sandals Thursday at the Business Centre on Macdonell Street for the launch of a new workplace health and safety program led by the CEC.
“The project aims to design, develop and deploy an education program and provide customized, broadly accessible resources including an app,” said Sandals. “I am here today on behalf of the Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn to announce that our government is investing up to $183,065 to help the Career Education Council.”
The CEC Guelph Wellington Dufferin is a charitable organization focused on providing youth with meaningful opportunities for experiential learning, career exploration and skills development.
The Ministry of Labour’s Occupational Health Safety and Prevention Innovation Program is providing the grant to help the CEC develop strategies for workplace mental health and well being by creating an occupational health and safety awareness program for youth, teachers and parents.
“We are really excited about this grant,” said Schafer. “I have been dedicated since I came on board to try to find a way to take some of our best projects that were headed for the shelf and get them to where they need to be and that’s serving students, teachers and businesses in the community.”
Schafer said it was a Grade 10 student that worked part time at Tim Horton’s that spurred the project and the grant proposal.
“We were talking about workplace injury and she actually brought up workplace stress,” said Schafer. “The stress of difficult customers and that fast pace in frontline customer service.”
Tim Yawney, assistant superintendent for the Wellington Catholic District School Board said the program will complement the health and safety training Grade 10 students are getting through career and civics courses at WCDSB high schools
“So, it is tied into that programming,” said Yawney. “This grant, the way it is defined, will be an incredible extension for them especially around the aspect of conflict mediation and dealing with difficult customers because many of our kids are working in service industries here in Guelph.”
Schafer said the initiative will deliver benefits well beyond the two-year grant period.
“We are developing a very extensive app that will allow this to continue past this grant period where we will be the frontline trainers,” said Schafer. “This will allow teachers to have that resource ongoing.”
They will also be reaching out to partners in Halton, Waterloo and Kingston.
They are encouraging students to register for the Youth Employment Opportunity Fair, Thu May 24 at the Delta Hotels By Marriott at 50 Stone Rd W where local employers will be offering seasonal and permanent positions to youth from Grade 12 and higher.
For more information about the program, the job fair and other CEC initiatives go to www.careereducationcouncil.ca