Demand Climate Action on Workplace Heat! | The Ontario Federation of Labour

Demand Climate Action on Workplace Heat!

A UPS driver went viral for baking cookies on the dashboard of his delivery truck on video. Driving in a heat wave, without air-conditioning, had turned the inside of the truck into a literal oven.

Temperatures in Ontario are rising, and they will only get hotter: 3 to 8 degrees Celsius over the next century. It sounds incremental, but can have lasting, fatal impacts on workers and communities, especially with consecutive days of heat.

  • Kim Douglas Warner, 44, died working at Weston Bakeries in Barrie in 2001. Kim worked a 12-hour day shift in 49-degree heat, on a 34-degree heat day. His temperature reached 42.5 C when he was found unconscious near the ovens.
  • Jean-Jacques Wapistan Jr., a faller working outdoors in Quebec for a construction company, died of heatstroke in August 2021. It was his third day on the job.
  • Esteban Chavez Jr. collapsed in the back of his UPS work truck and died at 24 years old in June 2022 because the employer does not provide air conditioning.

All preventable deaths.

Extreme heat that injures, sickens, and even kills workers is caused by work and climate conditions. Education workers and students often suffer stifling heat in portables. Restaurant workers sweat it out in brutally hot kitchens. Migrant farm workers toil in the blistering sun with few protections.

We need legislation for all workers for both heat and cool limits in the workplace – and genuine policy response to the climate crisis by municipal, provincial and federal governments. Heat stress will only intensify more as our planet heats up, creating a workplace crisis within a climate crisis.

The heat is on, in Ontario, and our governments must put people before profit. We’re past the point of calling every worker killed by the climate crisis a “wake up call”. We need action now.

Sign our petition for climate action on workplace heat and join our campaign!

Do you have an experience where heat impacted your work and health? You can share your experience with us here.

Our campaign is a joint effort with Providence Centre for Justice, Peace And Integrity of Creation. A special thank you to Athena Choo-Ket-Loung-Murray, Queen’s university undergraduate student and Jeremy Milloy, Lead, Integrity of Creation and Climate Change.

Sign on now!