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Ontario co-op student killed at work placement

By COS staff

A 17-year-old Ontario high school student was killed on Sept. 26 in an accident at his work placement.

Adam Keunen, a co-op student at Plazek Auto Recyclers in West Lincoln, Ont., was crushed under a front-end loader, according to a Toronto Star report. It was his first week on the job.

A grade 12 student, Keunen had ambitions of becoming a welder.

Keunen is the third Ontario co-op student who has been killed on the job in the past 10 months, the Star reported.

Last December, Wayne Affleck was killed in the electrical room of a solar farm he was working at, and in April, Aaron Murray was killed in a car crash after an unpaid night shift.

As things stand, co-op students and interns are not covered by workplace health and safety rules in Ontario, because of a legislative loophole. A bill has been tabled to close the loophole, but it has not yet passed through provincial parliament.

The provincial Minitsry of Labour this week released inspection results that found more than 40 per cent of employers with interns broke the law.

NDP members in provincial and federal parliament have tabled a bill to create an "intern bill of rights" that would provide interns and co-op students with the same protections as regular workers.

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