Child labour is one of the topic that presents strong emotions, beliefs
and opinions. Most people are opposed to the involvement of children in labour
force activities when they are at an age when other activities, such as
education and play, should be the central role in development. However, child
labour represents an extremely difficult and complex issue which often extends
beyond emotions, beliefs and opinions. Much of this has to do with the
understanding that a wide variety of factors, such as economic, cultural, social,
political and legal concerns, are part of any child labour problems as well as
the solution to these problems. With this in mind, the purpose of this paper
will be to discuss the issue of child labour on a national and an international
scale. This will not only include an evaluation of it prominence and any
problems that are associated with the use of child labour, but also an
examination of the efforts that are being made to discourage national and
foreign markets who employ children.
In many respects, the issue of child labour on a national scale, at
least from a Canadian perspective, is one that is quite limited. Much of this
has to do with the fact that a significant amount of powerful legislation and
enforcement of this legislation is available. For example, the Ontario
Employment Standards Act states that individuals under the age of 18 must be
paid a minimum of $6.40 per hour1. Furthermore, through the Ontario Occupational
Health and Safety Act, regulations have been created which allow for a minimum
age of 16 for logging activities, 15 for factory activities other than logging,
and 14 for activities other than factory work2.
Unfortunately, an examination of child labour on an international scale
reveals the extent to which this situation exists, as well as the degree to
which problems can arise. "A systematic estimate, undertaken in 1985, calculated
around 31 million street children worldwide, of whom 71 percent were child
workers living at home, 23 percent kept occasional family contact, and 8 percent
were entirely separated"3.
While the number of child workers is significant, it is equally apparent
that the reasons why they are involved in employment can attributed to a number
... middle of paper ...
such a solution. More specifically, economic progress is important, however, it
is equally apparent that a great deal of significance can be attached to
improvements in education and social security or assistance policies as well as
the development of international agreements that deal with this issue.
Bequele, A. and Myers, W. E. First things first in child labour. Geneva:
International Labour Organization, 1995.
Black, Maggie. In the twilight zone: Child workers in the hotel, tourism and
catering industry. Geneva: International Labour Organization, 1995.
Government of Ontario. Information for Students Working in Ontario. Toronto:
Government of Ontario. Regulations for Industrial Establishments. Toronto: 1990.
Myers, William E., ed. Protecting Working Children. London: Zed Books Ltd., 1991.
1 Government of Ontario, 1995, p. 1.
2 Government of Ontario, 1990, Section 4.
3 Black, 1995, p. 9.
4 Myers, 1991, p. 9.
5 Myers, 1991, p. 9.
6 Myers, 1991, p. 9.
7 Myers, 1991, p. 9.
8 Black, 1995, p. 43.
9 Bequele and Myers, 1995, p. 33.
10 Bequele and Myers, 1995, p. 35.
11 Bequele and Myers, 1995, p. 34.
12 Bequele and Myers, 1995, p. 88.
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