Changes to Canada Labour Code meant to boost labour protections
As of June 12, 2023, the federal minimum age for workers to be employed in hazardous occupations will be upped to 18 from the current 17.
This follows a March 9 proclamation by Ottawa bringing into force amendments to the Canada Labour Code (CLC).
Canada ratified the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (C138) in 2016. To ensure full compliance, the Canadian government passed amendments to the Canada Labour Code through the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 to raise the minimum age of employment from 17 to 18.
Part III of the Code establishes basic labour standards for persons employed in federal Crown corporations and federally regulated private-sector industries, such as transportation, telecommunications and broadcasting, and banks.
Section 179 of Part III will be changed to make the minimum age 18 instead of 17. The new rule will apply to:
work in underground mines
- work that is likely to be injurious to health or safety
- work between the hours of 11:00 p.m. on one day and 6 a.m. on the following day.
“The additional public policy benefits include a potential decline in occupational injuries, since young workers in federally regulated enterprises will face less hazardous work in their work environment,” the federal government said via the Canada Gazette back in July 2022.
“The government will also be heeding the call of stakeholders who have argued that young workers need adequate labour protection because they may be more likely to undertake unsafe work practices and accept lower pay, and are often less aware of their workplace rights.”
Previously, Quebec introduced a new bill restricting employment to kids no younger than 14 years old, with a few exceptions. Meanwhile, changes to British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act regarding young workers took effect in October 2022, where the general working age in the province has jumped to 16 from 12.