Mining is one of the worst forms of child labour. The heavy work can permanently damage a growing child's bones and muscles. Minerals mined are often hazardous and exposure to uranium and mercury can have profound health effects. Falling down open mine shafts, being trapped or injured by collapsing tunnels, or drowning while mining underwater are all serious threats. Photo/World Vision
— Growing numbers of Canadians are willing to pay more for products that are free of child labour, according to a poll released just prior to the World Day Against Child Labour (June 12). Eighty–nine per cent of Canadians said they would pay more, up from 68 per cent last year. Canadians said they would pay on average 23 percent more to guarantee a purchase is child-labour free—this is double the amount they said a year ago.
International development organization World Vision commissioned the national Ipsos Reid poll a few weeks after the Bangladesh factory disaster which killed more than 1,100 textile workers. The incident sparked debate about retail supply chains and ethical consumerism.
While price steers the shopping behaviour of most Canadians, the poll also revealed a strong sentiment that action is needed on all fronts to prevent child labour and exploitation, with 94 per cent of respondents feeling that “children should be considered priceless”.
Comments from World Vision
“Canadians are telling us they care about the people behind the products they buy. But when push comes to shove, price is still the first thing most Canadians look for on a label, rather than country of origin, ingredients or ethical certification logos,” said Cheryl Hotchkiss, senior advocacy manager for World Vision.
“Canadians are compassionate, yet we need to better understand the realities of this problem and how we can help. Purchasing decisions are powerful, but we must also ask companies tougher questions about their supply chains,” says Hotchkiss.
- 89 per cent believe companies should be legally obligated to provide information about working conditions in factories, workers’ wages and commit to not using child labour.
- 95 per cent believe national governments in developing countries aren’t doing enough to protect children from labour exploitation.
- 77 per cent believe that the Canadian government and Canadians are not doing enough to advocate on behalf of children who are exploited.
- 63 per cent felt the Canadian government should ban products known to be made with child labour.
- 79 percent of respondents pointed to Western demand for cheap products as the driver behind a company’s need for cheap labour.
More than 115 million children are doing dirty, dangerous and degrading work around the world, often making products destined for Canada. This work is damaging their bodies, minds and well-being. Many have dropped out of school; many are not able to escape their situation.
Today in Canada World Vision is launching a new campaign, No Child For Sale, which provides resources for Canadians to become more responsible consumers. Globally, the agency is working to change and enforce laws, educate children, families and communities about children’s rights and support people to overcome poverty which often leads to child slavery. Visit NoChildForSale.ca