B.C. to raise minimum employment age from 12 to 16 this fall

VICTORIA – British Columbia is changing its employment standards legislation this fall, increasing the general working age for young people from 12 to 16 years.

The changes will also outline the types of “light work” that anyone under the age of 16 can do with the permission of a parent or guardian.

The new rules will come into force on October 15 and will bring the province in line with international youth employment standards, the Ministry of Labor said in a statement on Wednesday. The delay in implementing the changes is intended to allow employers and young workers to adapt to the new requirements.

“Work experience can be a rewarding growth opportunity for young people, but it should never endanger their safety,” BC Labor Secretary Harry Bains said in the statement. “We know that most employers are making the safety of all of their workers their top priority, and these changes make it clear which forms of employment are age-appropriate for young workers.”

The province says workers between the ages of 14 and 15 can do “light work” with the permission of a parent or guardian.

In some cases, children between the ages of 14 and 15 are allowed to do work outside of the definition of light work with approval from the Department of Employment Standards at the Department of Labor, the ministry said.

Examples of “light work” in the province are:

  • Recreational and sports club work, such as lifeguards, coaches, golf caddies, camp advisers, referees and referees;

  • light farm and yard work such as gardening, hand harvesting, clearing of leaves and snow and cutting grass;

  • Administrative and secretarial work;

  • Retail operations such as storing shelves, packing orders, laying out displays, selling and cashing;

  • Working in the catering industry, such as B. Operating tables, preparing food, washing dishes and serving food and non-alcoholic drinks

  • skilled and technical work, such as computer programmer, visual artist, graphic designer, writer and editor.

The province says that all children 12 and older can continue to be employed in a business or farm belonging to an immediate family member, as long as the work meets provincial safety criteria.

The new rules also do not prevent children from babysitting or delivering newspapers part-time, nor do they prevent students from working on a student trainee or internship course.

The changes do not apply to young artists in both recorded and live entertainment.

BC is currently the only province that allows the employment of children aged 12 and over, the ministry said on Wednesday.

According to WorkSafeBC, more than $ 1.1 million in disability claims were paid to employees under the age of 14 between 2007 and 2016.

The province says it is also working to define “dangerous work” for those aged 16-18, with regulatory changes expected later this year.

“We are committed to protecting BC workers of all ages from unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices,” said Bains. “And we’re improving BC’s employment standards to meet the changing needs of our workplaces.”

The province said it consulted with more than 1,700 workers, employers and parents before finalizing youth employment changes earlier this year.


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