Congratulations to First Call, the BCFed, WestCoast LEAF, the Employment Standards Coalition, and many more for your continued and tenacious advocacy on employment standards.
On April 29th, 2019 BC’s Minister of Labour introduced Bill 8 in the legislature that will amend the Employment Standards Act to provide better protections for children and adolescents who are working.
This Bill modernizes BC’s employment laws and brings us into compliance with international standards, specifically the International Labour Organization’s Convention 138 on the minimum age of employment – an agreement the Government of Canada ratified in 2016.
Once enacted, Bill 8 will:
- raise the age for formal employment, (this is the age that does not require government oversight), from 12 to 16;
- prohibit hazardous work for those under 16;
- compel government to develop a list of acceptable tasks and conditions (e.g. hours of employment, time of day) for the employment of children aged 14 and 15;
- allow the Director of the Employment Standards Branch to consider applications for permits to hire those under the age of 14;
- compel government to define “hazardous industries and work” prohibitions and regulations for 16 to 18 year olds.
While these legislative changes set a direction that will greatly improve protections for working children and adolescents, the Ministry must now engage with British Columbians (including youth with recent employment experience), as well as review workplace injury data to determine what jobs, tasks and hours are appropriate.
The BCFed says, the Employment Standards Act will also now provide a more just level of protection for BC workers, including scrapping the self-help kit and extending wage recovery times. And WestCoast LEAF highlights that the government has introduced leave time for domestic violence but it must be paid to ensure those in need can access it.
While First Call welcome changes that prioritize the health and safety of BC’s children and youth, they say that the Ministry must now engage with British Columbians (including youth with recent employment experience), as well as review workplace injury data to determine what jobs, tasks and hours are appropriate.
First Call has been calling for change for over 15 years! For years, WorkSafeBC data has shown that too many children – 12 to 14-yr-olds are getting injured working in construction, manufacturing, trade and service jobs.
CCEC has signed on as an official supporter of First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.
Click here to learn more about the campaigns of First Call and how you can get involved.