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,