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About Child Labour in British Columbia

January 23, 2012

In 2003, the BC government lowered the work-start age (that’s the age you can work without government’s permission) to 12-years-old. Yes – you read that correctly. Since 2003 children aged 12 and up can work at virtually any worksite and at any time of day (with the exception of the film industry where employers must still get a permit to hire children).

When BC did this, we became the jurisdiction with the youngest work-start age in North America.

Since then, more children are working and getting hurt in the workplace.  WorkSafeBC (BC’s workplace insurer) recorded a ten-fold increase in the number of accepted injury claims for 12 to 14 year olds on the job between 2004 and 2008.

This is unacceptable.

Please join us in calling for legislation and protections that will protect children and bring BC in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organization’s conventions on child labour.

Specifically, according to the ILO convention:

Any work which is likely to jeopardize children’s physical, mental or moral heath, safety or morals should not be done by anyone under the age of 18.

The minimum age for work should not be below the age for finishing compulsory schooling, which is generally 15.

Children between the ages of 13 and 15 years old may do light work, as long as it does not threaten their health and safety, or hinder their education or vocational orientation and training.

Click here to add your voice.

- this post revised by author January 2012

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