The province of Saskatchewan has lowered its minimum working age by one year to 15 for some jobs. As of the beginning of the year, 15-year-olds will be able to work in hotels, restaurants, educational institutions, hospitals and nursing homes.
However, it is important to maintain a balance between allowing young people to gain work experience and ensuring their education is not compromised, said Labour Minister Rob Norris.
"Every young person's education is the first priority and our government is taking steps to ensure a proper balance between work and school," said Norris. "Lowering the minimum age of employment gives Saskatchewan young people valuable opportunities to obtain work experience, while filling gaps in our labour market."
Under the new rules, 15-year-olds cannot work more than 16 hours per week to ensure they have sufficient time for school work. The change will be reviewed in May 2009, following a consultation process starting this month. The government will also look at an absolute minimum age of employment in Saskatchewan and other employment standards to protect the well-being of young people entering the workforce, said Norris.
There is currently no absolute minimum age of employment outside of the five sectors: hotels, restaurants, educational institutions, hospitals and nursing homes. Current legislation continues to restrict the employment of young people during school hours, in the sale, handling or service of alcohol, and in certain high-risk occupations.
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