Canada and the Child Labour Problem

By: Jack Xu

“Ever wondered who makes the shoes you wear? It is probably a small child working in a factory somewhere,” an activist friend of mine once scornfully said, during a dining table conversation. As the feeling sunk in, things became clear; as a community, we are as much responsible for the child labor problem as a socio-political system which allegedly chooses to look the other way when children suffer in silence.

The recent World Vision report titled ‘Canada’s Labour Problem’ reiterates the issue and throws light on a variety of issues related to forced labour. The report says that “85 million children-nearly triple the population of our country suffer in exploitative, hazardous labour.” The report adds, “Most Canadians can’t believe that children and adults today are held against their will, trafficked or forced to work off a debt bond.”

The report also observes, “Canadians are at risk every day unwittingly purchasing products made through the child or forced labour.” In fact, the total value of Canadian imports of the 50 risky goods assessed in the report totaled $34 billion in 2016. The goods included everything from food to clothing to electronics. The report makes another disturbing observation, “Many Canadian companies seem ill-prepared to address the possibility of child and forced labour”

As a non-profit social enterprise, which makes every effort to create a positive social impact, we take forced labour and human trafficking issues very seriously and provide language solutions to victims.

With a grant from the Province of Ontario and the help of the Ministry of Attorney General’s Ontario Victim Services, we developed a highly successful online training initiative to address human trafficking.

We encourage frontline social service providers, victim services staff, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, labour inspectors and professionals who may come across trafficked persons to take this training.

So, if you provide services to vulnerable populations, and would like learn about how to recognize and assist a victim of human trafficking, then we encourage you to go online and check us out.

Vivek Vijayapalan, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, June 14, 2017