Minimum Age of Work Campaign

December 6, 2010, 2:28 PM EST

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The CAW is calling on the federal government to ratify an ILO Convention to halt a decline in minimum age laws.

Canada is one of only 27 countries, including India, Somalia and Iran that has not ratified the International Labour Organization's Convention 138 on the minimum age of work.

ILO Convention 138 calls on signatory members to pursue a national policy to abolish child labour and to progressively raise the minimum age of employment to a level consistent with the fullest physical and mental development of young persons.

There has been a steady erosion of minimum age laws in Canada to the point where British Columbia and Alberta have lowered the minimum age to 12 years, a resolution approved by council delegates states.

The downward pressure on minimum age of work, combined with an absence of adequate workplace education and training initiatives represents a further erosion of Canadian labour market standards.

Numerous delegates outlined their shock at minimum age of work laws in Canada that have been lowered to 12 years. The resolution calls on federal, provincial and territorial governments to align their respective minimum age of work laws in accordance with ILO Convention 138 so it is not less than the age of compulsory schooling.

Dino Chiodo, first vice-president of Local 444, said it's critical that labour speaks out on the issue.

"We have to stop this erosion of Canadian standards.we need to put pressure on the Harper government," Chiodo said.


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