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Restrictions on the Employment of Minors

By Yosie Saint-Cyr, Editor at HRinfodesk---Canadian Payroll and Employment Law,
Updated June 2005 (originally posted April 2001)

Across Canada, provincial and territorial legislation impose restrictions on the employment of young people less than 18 years old.

In Alberta, a person aged 12 to 14 years old can hold a job as long as they have a parent or guardian’s written consent and the work performed is unlikely to endanger their health, safety, education, and welfare (suggested employment: office or retail sales clerk, or a delivery person). They are allowed to work a maximum of two hours a day on school days and eight hours a day on other days. If they are younger than 15, they are not allowed to work between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Young people between the age of 12 and 14 years are considered "adolescents" under the Employment Standards Code. Requirements for employing adolescents include (see amendments below):

  • Permits to work at any job other than office or retail store clerk or flyer delivery.
  • Permits will only be granted if the employer has written consent of the parent or guardian and can satisfy Employment Standards that the employment is not likely to be harmful to the life, health, education or welfare of the adolescent.
  • Adolescents cannot be employed for more than two hours on a school day, eight hours on a non-school day or at all between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

In addition, employers do not need permits to hire adolescents to perform the following duties:

  • Deliver small wares for a retail store.
  • Be a clerk or messenger in an office.
  • Be a clerk in a retail store.
  • Deliver newspapers, flyers or handbill.

A person aged 15 to 18 years old are allowed to work between 9:00 p.m. and midnight in a retail store or other retail business, motel, hotel, or inn, if they are supervised by an employee 18 years or older. They are also allowed to work for other businesses between midnight and 6:00 a.m., if they have a parent or guardian’s written consent and are supervised by an employee 18 or older.

Young persons between the ages of 15 and 17 years do not require permits to work. However:

  • Restaurants, bars, all retail stores, gas stations, hotels and motels have special restrictions when employing young persons.
  • In these businesses, young persons may not be employed without the continuous presence of someone 18 or older after 9:00 p.m. and cannot be employed at all between midnight and 6:00 a.m.
  • For a young person to work after midnight in other occupations requires the consent of their parent or guardian and the continuous presence of someone 18 years of age or older.

Young people who are required to attend school are not allowed to work during normal school hours, unless they are enrolled in a work experience program, or have been excused from attending school to pursue vocational training.

In June 2005, the Alberta Human Resources and Employment - Employment Standards Branch posted on their website additional guidelines regarding hiring of employees between the ages of 12 to 14 in the Food and Restaurant industry as follows:

Employers in the Restaurant and Foodservices Industry may now hire employees between the ages of 12 and 14 for their restaurants, without obtaining a permit, for certain designated duties subject to various conditions.

Consent of a parent or guardian must still be obtained before hiring an adolescent and the safety checklist must be completed, with safety requirements, restrictions and prohibitions regarding the activities adolescent employees may perform.

The employment of adolescents will be monitored in these industries to ensure compliance with the conditions of the approval.

Please note: This approval applies only to the employment of adolescents in the restaurant and food services industry

By Yosie Saint-Cyr, Editor at HRinfodesk

Published on HRinfodesk---Canadian Payroll and Employment Law

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This article offers general comments on legal developments of concern to businesses. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of this information. These publications are written for informational purposes only and should NOT be relied upon as legal advice. The reader should always obtain legal advice from a qualified lawyer or other qualified professional which will be responsive to the case or circumstance of the individual

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