The Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, issued the following statement today marking World Day Against Child Labour:
“All children have the right to reach their full potential through safe and equitable access to education. However, for many, that is simply not the case. The latest global estimates indicate that 160 million children were engaged in child labour globally at the beginning of 2020, of whom 79 million were in hazardous work. We know that this number does not even include girls engaged in unpaid household and domestic work, and that the children most vulnerable to child labour are often those who are subject to discrimination and exclusion, including girls, ethnic or religious minorities, and children living with disabilities.
It is Canada’s responsibility, along with all countries, to protect the right of every child to a childhood. On August 4, 2020, the international community marked a milestone in the fight to end the worst forms of child labour: The International Labour Organization’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999, achieved universal ratification. This means that all children now have legal protection against the worst forms of child labour, including slavery, sexual exploitation, the use of children in armed conflict or other illicit or hazardous work that compromises children’s health, moral or psychological wellbeing.
The United Nations has declared 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, to urge the international community to continue stepping up its efforts. This is more important than ever, as the number of children in child labour has increased by over 8 million from 2016 to 2020. The COVID-19 crisis threatens to further increase that number as countries around the world experience financial hardships, putting children at an even greater risk of exploitation. We cannot afford to go backwards-we must move forward together.
Canada remains fully committed to upholding human rights and international labour standards. The Government of Canada has introduced a forced labour import ban, which applies to all imports, regardless of origin. We continue to engage in risk assessment of federal procurement supply chains to identify which goods are at a higher risk of having been made or produced with the use of child labour, forced labour or human trafficking.
Canada joins with its partners around the world to stand up in the fight against child labour and ensure that children at home and abroad can experience a healthy and safe childhood.”
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