Young Worker Rights

You have the right to a safe, healthy and fair workplace.
There are laws to help protect you at work.

Young workers under the age of 18 are covered by most of the same rules as other workers – Occupational Health and Safety, Workers’ Compensation, Human Rights, and Employment Standards.

As of January 1, 2019, there are new rules and protections specifically for workers under the age of 18, and these can be found under Employment Standards – youth employment laws. Because they are new, and because there are a lot of particular rules, it is important to become familiar with them.

These youth employment rules limit the type of work and hours of work for 12 year-olds, 13-14 year olds. Permits and parent or guardian consent may be required to ensure young workers are only performing “light duties” that won’t endanger their health and safety.

15-17 year-olds do not have any restrictions on the kind of jobs they can perform, but have restricted hours in some situations. 15 year-olds cannot work during regular school hours (unless involved in a “work experience”-type program), 15-17 year-olds working in retail/hospitality jobs must have adult supervision between the hours of 9:00pm and 12:00am, and cannot work between   12:01am and 6:00am. 15-17 year-olds may work in any other kind of job between 12:01 and 6:00am, but only with adult supervision and parent/guardian consent.

Note that these specific rules apply only to employees, not to self-employed contractors doing casual work such as babysitting, shovelling snow, or cutting lawns. These rules also do not apply to volunteering, “work experience”-type programs through school, or to farms and ranches.

Every workplace is potentially dangerous, so it is important to learn about your workplace rights and how you are protected from workplace hazards.

We encourage you to ask your employer these 13 Questions, and find allies you can talk to about work. These can be friends, family, co-workers, teachers, and government agencies responsible for protecting workers. Check out some worker resources, here.