Letters to MLAs re: child labour

The following letter was sent to the four MLAs in the North Okanagan Labour Council's area:

May 15, 2003

The members of the North Okanagan Labour Council are strongly opposed to this government's decision to encourage child labour.

While many people in B.C. support efforts to end child labour and exploitation around the world, our own province is going in the opposite direction and making it easier for children to be put to work. Is an international campaign now going to be needed to end child labour in B.C.?

International conventions, such as the Convention on Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, clearly state that 12-year-old children should not be put to work. In fact, such conventions suggest 15 should be the minimum age for entry into the workforce.

Twelve-year-old children should be playing sports and games and playing with their friends. They should have time to enjoy being children. They are far too young to be punching time clocks and taking on such adult responsibilities.

Your government claims that changing the rules so the Director of Employment Standards' approval is no longer needed for a child as young as 12 to work, is reducing red tape.

In fact, the government is abandoning its important responsibility to protect our children from abuse and exploitation. This is one case where reducing red tape is not helpful.

Youth unemployment and youth injury rates are already way too high in B.C. Adding younger workers to the workforce will only increase both.

A country as economically and socially advanced as Canada should not be sending pre-teen children into the workforce.

Please urge your government to undo this policy before B.C. comes in for more international condemnation and ridicule.

David Doran,
North Okanagan Labour Council


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