When Jeni Mathers tells people that children as young as 12 are working on British Columbia's construction sites and factory floors, she gets some extreme reactions. "A lot of people are in denial about it. When we talk to them they're shocked, they're embarrassed, they say, 'That can't possibly be.'"
Mathers is one of several members of the B.C. Employment Standards Coalition who have been visiting community events across the province, raising awareness for what they, and many others, see as a huge problem. In B.C., any child under 15 can hold almost any job with little more regulation than a parent's permission note. These young workers are inexperienced, poorly protected and being injured on a regular basis.