12-Year Olds Can Now Work in Bars



    Where will it Stop?, Asks AFL

    EDMONTON, March 16 /CNW/ - The Alberta Federation of Labour has learned
the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) has altered its policy
regarding the hiring of minors to work in bars and lounges. Effectively
immediately, bar and lounge owners can apply to use 12-17 year-olds in the
kitchen area of their establishments.

    AFL President Gil McGowan will be available for the media to comment on
this revelation at 2:00 pm at the AFL offices (10802 - 172 Street) in
Edmonton.

    The AFL received a copy of an email (dated March 15, 2007) widely
distributed by the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association (CRFA)
trumpeting the decision. An AFL staffer subsequently confirmed the change this
morning with the AGLC's Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs. This follows
the decision last year by the Alberta government to allow restaurants to hire
12 to 14 year-olds.
    "Minors aren't allowed in bars, but they can toil away in the kitchens of
bars. The logic of this is beyond belief," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "No
one can convince me that a bar atmosphere is appropriate for a young teenager.
Drunk patrons, worldly staff and alcohol sales add up to an adult environment,
both in the bar and behind the scenes. It is no place for a 12-year old."
    The AGLC indicates the change was made at the request of the CRFA due to
their claims of labour shortages.
    "The Alberta government has its priorities completely backward," says
McGowan. "It is supposed to protect our kids, but instead it slavishly serves
the self-interests of an industry with a spotty employment track record."
    "Hiring 12-year olds to work in restaurants is indefensible enough.
Hiring them to work in bars is a whole new level of appalling."
    The AGLC says it will weigh the merits of each application, denying
applications for employers who have breached their licenses in some way. "I'll
believe it when I see it," responds McGowan. "Where are the checks and
balances?"
    "Who will stand up to protect our young people from being exploited?
Clearly not the Conservative government," McGowan concludes.

    NOTE: Copies of the email will be available at the availability, or by
    phoning the AFL office at (780)483-3021.





For further information:

For further information: Gil McGowan, Cell: (780) 218-9888; Jason
Foster, (780) 483-3021

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