Currently the BC NDP Government is looking at changing the Employment Standards in the Province. One of the key changes gathering steam in the public is the change to the working age, raising it to 16-yearsold.
Q101 spoke with Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart to get her opinion on the proposed changes.
“We are certainly hearing a lot from those out in the community around the fact that the Government thinks that they know what the best age for a kid to go to work is and that they think it’s 16,” said Tegart.
Tegart also mentioned that parents and not the government know when it’s best for their kids to start working.
“I think about mowing lawns at a golf course, I think about people pumping gas, I think about the experience of working in a kitchen at a restaurant picking up dishes. I think that every parent knows their child and the fact that a kid can’t go out at age 13 and make some money to buy a bike because the government has made rules. I think it’s a little heavy handed,” said Tegart.
“Kids that go to work at age 14 often pick up a great work ethic, they understand what it’s like to get up in the morning to go to work, they understand the value of a paycheck, they understand being part of a team. So, I really question whether this amendment to the Employment Standards is a bit far reaching,” said Tegart.
“I think the Government needs to get out of the way,” said Tegart. “Yes, there are situations where kids shouldn’t be working in dangerous situations. But I also think we need to consider the fact that we have teachable moments with young people. To think that they can’t go to a daily job before the age of 16, I think about my kids and they worked much younger of that.”
It should be noted that children will be permitted to conduct ‘light work’ at the age of 14, but what exactly defines ‘light’ has not yet been decided.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt