Breakdown of minimum age legislation

Working age is under fire in Saskatchewan, but how do other provinces and territories deal with the issue?


Calls to reform late-shift policies and legislation governing the minimum age of work have followed a recent spate of young workers being killed on the job, or on their way home from work.

Saskatchewan is reviewing its own minimum age policies and is taking submissions from employers, workers and parents until May 1.

Below is a table of the minimum age legislation as laid out by the provinces' and territories' Employment Standards Acts, including the late-shift limitations. There are other exceptions to the minimum age of employment (for example in construction and mining) but those fall under other provincial and territorial acts.



Province Minimum age Exceptions and late-shift limitations
Alberta 12 years 12 to 14-year-olds can only work as a delivery person of small wares for a retail store, clerk or messenger in an office, clerk n a retail store including convenience stores, delivery person for the distribution of newspapers, flyers or handbills and certain occupations in the restaurant and food services industry. They cannot work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. 15 to 17-year-olds cannot work after 9 p.m. in a place that sells food or drink, in a retail store, at a retail business selling gas or oil products, in a hotel or motel unless working with someone who is at least 18 years old. They can never work between midnight and 6 a.m. in these jobs. In other jobs, they can work after midnight with written parental consent if they’re working with someone who is at least 18 years old.
British Columbia 14 years 12 to 14-year-olds can work with written permission of parent or guardian
Manitoba 16 years All employers must have at least two employees working a late shift, regardless of age.
New Brunswick No minimum Under 14: cannot work in any industrial undertaking, in the forest industry, the construction industry, a garage or automotive service station, a hotel or restaurant, a theatre, dance hall or shooting gallery, or as an elevator operator. Also cannot be employed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day. Under 16: cannot be employed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day. All employers must have at least two employees working a late shift, regardless of age.
Newfoundland and Labrador 16 years 14 to 16-year-olds can work with written permission of parent or guardian. Cannot be employed between the hours of 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Northwest Territories and Nunavut No minimum Under 17: cannot work between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Nova Scotia No minimum Under 16: cannot work in an industrial undertaking, the forest industry, garages and automobile service stations, hotels and restaurants, the operation of elevators, in theatres, dance halls, shooting-galleries, bowling-alleys, billiard and pool rooms. Under 14: Cannot be employed between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Ontario No minimum The Occupational Health and Safety Act sets minimum ages of employment in certain dangerous sectors such as construction (16 years) and window cleaning (18 years).
Prince Edward Island No minimum Under 16: cannot between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Quebec 14 years Unless parent or guardian gives written consent. Under 17: Except in the case of newspaper deliveries or as specified by regulation, no employer may have work performed by a child between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day, unless the child is no longer subject to compulsory school attendance.
Saskatchewan No minimum Under 16: Cannot be employed in any educational institution, hospital, nursing home, hotel or restaurant. Employers in the above industries must give all workers, regardless of age, a free ride home if their shift finishes between 12:30 a.m. 7 a.m.
Yukon No minimumUnder 17: cannot be employed in occupations that may be specified by regulation or contrary to such conditions as may be prescribed by the regulations.

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