In spring 2019, the Ministry of Labour made changes to the Employment Standards Act to ensure that the work children and young people do is age-appropriate and safe for their health and development. These changes are bringing B.C. in line with international child employment standards and align B.C. with regulations in other Canadian jurisdictions that protect children from dangerous work.
Government knows there are economic benefits and valuable life skills and experiences that work provides for young people. It is important that these work experiences are safe. Before moving forward with specific rules around child employment, we asked parents, guardians, employers, businesses, organizations and youth for their perspectives on:
- what types of work are appropriate for children and youth,
- what special rules (if any) should there be for children and youth engaged in this work, and
- should there be exemptions and what might those be?
Some jobs are already exempt from the general working age requirement, including: babysitters, performers in recorded and live entertainment, newspaper carriers, and students in work-study programs. These jobs are not impacted by the new age requirements or rules around light work.
In the first phase of this work – the topic of this engagement – we received over 1,700 online questionnaires, including 64 from youth. This feedback was used to develop regulations on appropriate work for young people aged 14-16, which came into effect on October 15, 2021. Click here to view the news release and details of the amendments.
The final phase in the efforts to protect young workers is to examine and define what kinds of work should be considered too hazardous for youth under 16, or up to under 19 in some cases. A new engagement has now been launched to gather public and stakeholder feedback on proposed regulations around hazardous work. Learn more and participate in the consultation.