Markville Secondary School students won first prize and $2,000 each for their video on workplace mental health in an Ontario-wide contest held by the Ministry of Labour.
Students Raagavi Ramenthiran, Jaclyn Chiu, Jessica Gu and Morgan McKay (pictured in front row) were awarded with their prize by Michael Chan, MPP for Markham-Unionville at school before their peers and teachers, Wednesday May 25th. It was part of the Ministry of Labour’s “It’s Your Job” contest. Their video called Breakdown focused on how unsafe work conditions can have terrible ramifications on the mind. An additional $2,000 was awarded to Markville Secondary School.
The four were among several students across Ontario who planned and created original videos that demonstrated the importance of working safely on the job. Their video also placed second in the national contest “It’s Your Job”, which involved students and schools all across Canada.
The fact is startling. Approximately 6,000 young workers across Ontario are seriously injured at work each year and are three times more likely to be injured during the first four weeks. This contest was trying to get a simple message across “if you don’t feel safe on the job, you need to speak up and say no and report it”.
Chan was also on hand to explain the importance of work safety.
“It’s the right of every worker to feel safe at work,” he explained. “No one should ever feel afraid to go to work and be afraid of what may happen. No parent should wonder if their child will come home from work safe or at all.”
He added that workers should know their rights.
“Besides having the right of a safe workplace, you have the right and responsibility to say no to your employer if you feel the work you are doing isn’t safe and it’s your responsibility to report it.”
Fortunately, since 2000 to 2012, Ministry of Labour has been successful in decreasing the number of workplace injuries and fatalities by 70 per cent.
“This is a pleasing number to report and we’re happy to see people getting the message,” Chan said.
The Ontario Government will be conducting a summer enforcement blitz beginning July 18 focusing on the safety of new and young workers.
People are encouraged to report unsafe work environments at the Ontario Ministry of Labour at 1-877-202-0008.