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Young people and work injuries: an examination of jurisdictional variation within Canada
  1. F C Breslin1,2,
  2. P Smith1,3,
  3. C Mustard1,2,
  4. R Zhao1
  1. 1Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada
  2. 2Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Canada
  3. 3Institute for Medical Science, University of Toronto, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr C Breslin
 Institute for Work & Health, 481 University Ave., Suite 800, Toronto, ON M5G 2E9, Canada; cbreslin{at}


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify risk factors of work injuries among Canadian adolescents and young adults and to examine provincial differences in work injury rates.

Methods: Information on work and injuries were obtained from a representative sample of 14 541 Canadians aged 15–24 years. Respondents reported medically attended, work related injuries in the past 12 months, work hours, and type of occupation. A multivariate logistic regression on likelihood of work injury included demographic and work variables, as well as province of residence.

Results: Even when factors expected to vary by province such as occupation were statistically controlled, Saskatchewan youth were about twice as likely to be injured at work compared to Ontario youth. Type of job was a major correlate of injury risk, with all jobs showing higher risk than administrative clerical jobs. Even with type of job controlled, visible minorities, students, and 15–17 year olds had a reduced likelihood of work injury than their counterparts.

Conclusions: Many young Canadians sustain work injuries that have clear medical costs and potential long term health consequences. Individual level explanations for youth’s increased risk for workplace injuries (for example, inexperience or developmental factors) need to be supplemented with a better understanding of the broader social, economic, and political factors across jurisdictions.

  • FTE, full time equivalent
  • SES, socioeconomic status
  • adolescents
  • geographic variation
  • occupational health
  • risk factors
  • young adults

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