SUMMERSIDE – Young Islanders will have a chance to get involved in workplace safety and rights through a new video contest.
The initiative is the work of the Workers Compensation Board and the P.E.I. Department of Environment, Labour.
The contest, ‘It’s Your Job…Workplace Rights, Camera, Action!,’ was launched at the East Prince Career Technology and Education Centre at Three Oaks Senior High School, Monday.
It challenges high school students, and 18- to 24-year-old youth not in high school, to create videos that illustrate the importance of workplace safety and worker rights. Winning entries will be posted on the ‘It’s Your Job’ Youtube site, with contestants from across Canada competing for national and fan favourite prizes.
“It was an idea that came from federal, provincial and territorial meetings for the ministers of labour across the country,” said Labour Minister Janice Sherry. “This is a great way to allow Island youth to express themselves while getting involved in the important question of workers’ rights and workplace safety.”
Sherry said Three Oaks Senior High is a place where young Islanders are on the cusp of entering the workplace and pursuing careers.
“In environments like the industrial arts facility here and in the part-time work places that employ so many of our students, young Islanders are having the chance to experience both the opportunities and the realities of the working world,” she said. “We want our young people to enter rewarding careers. We want them informed of their right to work safely and to work in environments where they are treated fairly and where all of their rights are upheld.”
Nancy Guptill, chair of the Workers Compensation Board, said no matter how careful and well-trained workers are, everyone needs be aware of their surroundings and not to be afraid to speak out if they see something that could be harmful.
“It can happen within seconds,” Guptill said. “And within seconds the harm and the maim that might come to you could be horrible and horrifying. There’s a responsibility and often times young people hesitate to mention something that they feel could be dangerous to them. They feel that maybe their job could be in jeopardy, that their managers or the senior person who’s working over them would laugh at them or make a statement that would cause them to be jeopardized in promoting themselves in the workplace. But you have your rights and it’s up to you and I and everyone to take care of each other.”
There is a provincial component to this contest. High school students can enter the P.E.I. contest to win $1,000 and $1,000 for their school. The winner of the P.E.I. contest will automatically be entered in the Canadian high school contest for the chance to win up to $2,000 more.
Islanders, 18 to 24, and not in high school, can enter the national contest and win up to $3,000.
Contestants can submit videos from Feb. 1 to April 5. Top videos for both categories will be viewed by Canadians coast to coast during Fan Favourite voting North American Occupational Safety and Health Week in May. The Fan Favourite wins $1,000.
Full contest details are available at www.wcb.pe.ca/Workplace/Contest.