Alberta’s Human Resources and Employment Minister told reporters yesterday that the Tory Government would not revisit changes to the province’s employment rules that make it easy for 12-14 year-olds to work in restaurants.
From an interview with the Edmonton Journal: Minister Mike Cardinal said Albertans as young as 12 should have the opportunity to work if they want to.
“Albertans are very hard workers,”
“You have to give them credit. They work hard, including the young people.”
“Some parents may be in a position where the children don’t have to work, but not everybody is like that.”
“There are some areas where some parents are not in a financial situation where they can afford to completely support the children without the youth going to work. I think that option should be there.”
Cardinal said he worked his first job at the age of five, earning a nickel once a week for emptying a slop bucket for the store owner who lived next door. Then at the age of 12, he worked for $2 a day skidding trees for a sawmill on horseback. He went to work full time at the sawmill at the age of 15 to help support his 12 brothers and sisters.
“Thank God I had the ability to work (at a young age), because we wouldn’t have survived, probably,” he said.
“Work is healthy, it doesn’t hurt. That’s what keeps our high standard of living in Alberta and in Canada,” he said. “People work, everybody works.”
How about improving social programs to help low-income families so their 12-year old son or daughter won’t have to go out and find a job? How about allowing 12 year-olds to concentrate on their schooling so that they can increase their chances of one day attending a post-secondary institution? What happend to childhood?
Quotes from the story: Child labour law will work, minister says
Cardinal notes some families need cheques from 12-year-olds; child advocates say education should be bottom line in the Edmonton Journal.