Agriculture is the most dangerous industry in Ontario, according to the latest injury and illness statistics reported by the Workplace Safety Insurance Board, an Ontario agency that insures workers.
Although agriculture was a relatively small part of the total number of provincial work-related injuries, its injury and illness rate was much higher than other industries on a per capita basis. The province defines agriculture as: “Industries engaged in growing crops, raising animals, harvesting timber, harvesting fish and providing related support activities.”
The number of approved lost-time insurance claims in agriculture has hovered around 1,200 a year in Ontario, peaking at 1,251 in 2017. Lost-time claims include approved on-the-job illnesses or injuries that required taking time off work.
In 2017, 1.86 agriculture workers out of every 100 missed work because they got injured or sick on the job. That number doesn’t include the farm owners themselves, who don’t qualify for WSIB. The top three dangerous jobs included forestry and transportation.
Across sectors, and agriculture is no exception, injuries are on the decline. Back in 2008, the injury and illness rate was about 2.5 workers for every 100 workers. That rate has dropped by almost 25 per cent.
Education was Ontario’s least-injurious industry, with a rate of 0.4.
Agriculture as a sector in Ontario employs about 77,000, roughly 1 per cent of Ontario’s 7.1 million workers, according to OMAFRA and Statistics Canada.