June 13th, 2018

NDP Statement on World Day Against Child Labour

Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Canada’s NDP, issued the following statement:

"For most children across Canada, this is the time of year when you start looking forward to summer holidays, having fun with friends, and no more homework. But for millions of children around the world, there is no break, there is only work. These children are not going to school, or enjoying their childhood the way every child deserves to – child labour is still an epidemic in many regions of the world that we must confront.

Of the estimated 215 million children forced to work worldwide, 3 in 4 are engaged in the worst forms of child labour, hazardous industrial work, sexual exploitation and as child soldiers. Many are also being enslaved, separated from their families and left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age.

On this World Day Against Child Labour, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the plight of these children, whose physical and mental development are being damaged daily, as they are systematically being deprived of their childhood, their potential and their dignity.

We must use every means available to us, here in Canada, to pressure countries where child labour is unregulated to adopt minimum age requirements and restrictions on child labour.

Here in Canada, we can also do our part in this fight. New Democrats believe that Canada can and must pass legislation ensuring that no products purchased by Canadians have been made with child or forced labour at any time during the production process.

We must also make sure that all children have the right to an education – since education is the single most important component to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Childhood is the time for mental, physical, spiritual and social development. All children in the world deserve to be able to play in the sun, eat enough to grow up strong and healthy, and take part in the life-long benefits of learning and going to school.

On this World Day Against Child Labour, let us recommit ourselves to the global fight against child labour. It takes an act of courage to demand better, and fight for the better world we all know is possible for every child."