Invisible workplaces and forgotten workers? A case study of occupational safety and health and workers' compensation coverage in Canadian non-profit organisations

Publication type
Journal article
Kosny A
Date published
2009 Jan 25
Policy and Practice in Health and Safety
Open Access?

Non-profit organisations are important mechanisms for the delivery of many social and health services, as well as places where people work. In Canada, 1.3 million people do paid work in non-profit organisations, and many more are involved in a voluntary capacity. However, occupational safety and health systems, originally set up in response to the hazards of factory-based work, may not adequately protect those working in NPOs. In this paper, I argue that workers delivering social and health services in Canadian non-profit organisations can face a number of work-related hazards, including exposure to infectious disease, secondhand smoke, violence and stress. My examination of provincial legislation that was designed to protect the health of workers and provide compensation when workers have been injured at work found that, at times, it is not well-suited to workers in non-profit organisations or to the organisational configurations (eg mixing paid and voluntary labour) found in this sector. I examine these legislative gaps and discuss the implications they can have for workers' health in this growing sector