High school student’s death renews demand for safety regulation of co-op placements

October 3, 2014

A high-school student has died while on a co-op work placement at an Ontario auto recycling plant. Adam Keunen’s death has triggered calls for improvement to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) or the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), in order to attempt to prevent further accidents in the future. Currently, interns and co-op students are not covered under these laws, which outline training and safety procedures for employees. NDP MPP Peggy Sattler recently introduced a private member’s bill calling for better protections for students and unpaid workers in ON; previously, 2 NDP MPs introduced a similar bill at the federal level. In response to Keunen’s death, the Canadian Intern Association stated, “these tragic incidents necessitate that the Ontario government undertake a fulsome review of co-ops, academic internships and experiential learning programs to ensure the safety and well being of students and young workers is being protected.” Toronto Star | CBC | Cdn Intern Assoc News Release