During the nineteenth century, children were particularly susceptible to abuse in factories and work camps. Although the law did not allow girls under 12 and boys under 14 to work in industry, many did - and for a fraction of the standard wages.

Union pressure helped bring about the Royal Commission on the Relations of Labour and Capital (1889). While the Commission results did little to improve conditions for workers generally, interviews like those recorded below so appalled Commission members that they directed the federal government to ensure stronger enforcement of laws regarding child labour.

Stanislas Goyette, a cigar maker fromMontreal, being interviewed during the 1889 Royal Commission.

Mr. Goyette, you are a cigar maker?

Yes, sir.

How old are you?

Twenty years old.

At what age did you begin your apprenticeship

At the age of fourteen...

Did you pay any fines during your apprenticeship?

Yes, sir; that is never wanting...

Were you ever beaten during your apprenticeship?

Yes, sir.

How old were you?

I might have been fourteen or fifteen.

Who beat you?

The foreman.

Why did he beat you?

For all sorts of reasons.

You do not remember why?

... it was oftenest because I would not work after regular hours.

Did he strike you with his hand, his fist or some tool?

With whatever he had in his hand. He balked at nothing.

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