The Picture of Occupational Injuries and Fatalities in Canada:

Despite a plethora of published statistics relating to occupational health and environmental safety, the true picture of the social, economic, personal and professional consequences of occupational injuries and disease to Canadians from all works of life remain poorly understood at best. The impact to affected workers, their families, friends, employers and co-workers goes well beyond the tangible costs associated with lost time, lost income, impacts to corporate productivity and the costs related to providing worker's compensation and insurance benefits, long and short term disability payments and other necessary medical and rehabilitative inputs. The total annual economic burden of injuries of all types to Canadians has been assessed at close to $ 19.8 Billion. 


$ 19.80  Billion 

Estimated total annual economic burden of injuries to Canadians

Number of Occupational Fatalities by Province and Territory, per 100,000 employed, 2010

                  Workforce 2011         Fatalities 2010

Canada           18,413,300.00                 1,016.00 

NL                        249,300.00                      32.00  
PE                          76,900.00                        2.00 
NS                        488,800.00                      23.00 
NB                        379,700.00                      12.00 
QC                    4,224,200.00                    213.00
ON                     7,184,900.00                    385.00
MB                        651,600.00                      16.00
SK                        548,300.00                      45.00
AB                      2,170,200.00                   136.00
BC                     2,439,200.00                    144.00
YT                           19,500.00                        3.00 
NT/NV                     38,200.00                        5.00 

 Occupational Fatalities in Canada as per 100,000 Employed

How Safe is Safe Enough?

The Rights of Individuals under OH&S Statutes and Regulations

Employees today enjoy a number of fundamental workplace safety rights under Canada's occupatonal health and safety statutory and regulatory framework. These include the "right to know", the "right to participate," the "right to refuse" as well as the rights of pregnant and nursing employees to protect infant children and the unborn from the potential impact of workplace related hazards.

When taken together these three occupational "rights" allow employees to make educated decisions about what might constitute an "acceptable" level of risk while at work. Despite these legal protections, though, nearly a thousand Canadian's die each and every year due to occupational causes.

For instance in  2010, some 1,016 Canadians were killed on the job or died as a result of a long term illnesss they contracted as a result of their work. The bar graph above and the table to the right indicate the number of workplace fatalities in Canada by region per 100,000 employed.

Number of Recognized Workplace Fatalities by Province or Territory, 2010:

Canada 1,016

NL                     32.00 
PE                       2.00*
NS                     23.00
NB                     12.00
QC                  213.00
ON                  385.00
MB                    16.00
SK                     45.00
AB                   136.00
BC                   144.00
YT                        3.00
NT/NV                  5.00

* 2009 data selected as no data was provided for the year 2010. 

Industry Specific Trends:

As can be expected those engaged in so-called “blue-collar” work are much more likely to be injured on the job than those employed in “white-collar” professions. According to statistics developed by Statistics Canada close to one worker in ten (9%) engaged in trades, transport and equipment operations were subject to the impact of an occupational injury in 2003 a rate that is in excess of four four times the rate (2%) for those workers employed in business, finance, administration, social sciences and education. High risk industries such as manufacturing and construction continue to feature prominently in Canada's workplace injury, illness and fatality statistics. At 24.5 cases per 1,000 employees in the high risk construction sector had the highest national rate of workplace injury followed by manufacturing with 24% and fishing and transport, storage and communications with 20.5% respectively.    


Ratio of Canadian workers injured while

on the job in 2009



Ratio of Canadian's engaged in "blue collar" occupations injured

while on the job in 2003


Regional Trends:

According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) nearly one in every 65 workers employed in this country in 2009 was injured or otherwise harmed while at work. These occupational injuries were sufficiently severe that the injured worker became eligible for worker's compensation benefits. Significant regional trends in occupational health and safety can be observed with the highest rate of injury being noted in Manitoba in 2009 (25.6 cases per 1000 employed workers) while the lowest such rate was found in the Province of Ontario (10.0 per 1,000 employed workers). It must also be noted that the accident statistics published by Canada's worker's compensation boards do not present a complete picture of workplace injury in Canada as they generally exclude the activities of Canada's nearly 2.6 million self-employed (2,637,900 in January 2012) who account for almost 15% of this country's working population of 17,357,000. According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) some 82.19% of Canadians were covered under the auspices of a provincial or territorial worker's compensation scheme in the year 2010.    

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