June 2, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

Complete Canadian News World

Child labor: An opening for Quebec agricultural producers

Bill 19 was introduced in March by Labor Minister Jean Poulet. A good number of market gardeners ignore the realityUPA leader Martin Caron made the announcement in a parliamentary committee last week.

With this new law, the Legault government will impose a minimum age for employment in Quebec. Young people under the age of 14 cannot work in their parent’s business if it has fewer than 10 employees, except in exceptional cases such as childcare, day camp animation.

However, many berry growers will be punished, including those who, for example, invite 12- and 13-year-olds to pick strawberries, raspberries or blueberries in the summer.

The participation of local children in this type of agricultural work is very widespread and there is consensus in the farming community.UPA contends in a brief filed during the Special Consultations. This first work experience creates a close connection with agriculture, which creates positive spinoffs for all.

We can also read that this situation is good for everyone involved: extra labor for the producers, livelihood for the youth and a friendly and safe place for the parents who can’t or won’t enroll their children in a day camp. An access.

Martin Caron, head of the Union des Protectores Agricole, believes the bill “ignores an aspect of rural reality”.

Photo: Quebec National Assembly

Québec solidaire’s labor spokesman, Alexandre Leduc, who has so far opposed the inclusion of exemptions in the bill, said: attacked And Sensitivity By these arguments.

“I know very well that in rural areas, the idea of ​​family is more important,” he explains. Our neighbor is like an extension of the family.

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For this reason, he supports an amendment to the legislative text to require all agricultural businesses with fewer than 10 employees to continue to employ youth under the age of 14.

We need to expand the concept of family to the rural areas and include its members QSSo not only father or mother, but neighbors, uncles, aunts, can employ children under 14, which is currently not possible in the version of the bill.

Spokesperson QLP On the basis of duty, Madhva-Nika Cadet is also of the opinion that an exception should be made. For some light agricultural work like picking berries.

Often, this type of employment is part of a continuum of family activities and is completely safe for the child.she says. Obviously, this element needs to be well regulated to stay in the spirit of the law, i.e. to put the welfare of the child at the fore.

Such an exemption should be accompanied by mandatory training for teenagers and their employers, Alexandre Leduc believes, to make them aware of occupational health and safety issues. This is an acceptable compromise and I hope it will suit the MinisterHe believes.

Minister in thought

Jean Boulet did not close the door to the idea of ​​extending the list of exemptions before special consultations began on Bill 19, but he has given no indication of that since.

Minister Paulette at the press conference.

Labor Minister Jean Poulet

Photo: Radio-Canada / Sylvain Roy Roussel

According to the Ministry of Labour, 90,000 young people under the age of 14 will have a job in Quebec by 2022, and the number of work accidents has increased by 640% since 2017, particularly in the catering, accommodation and retail sectors.

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Each accident is one too manyThe minister emphasized.

A detailed study of the bill is due to begin in May, with the bill expected to be passed by the end of the June parliamentary session.