BC will change its minimum working age this coming fall.

The new regulation will go into effect on October 15th, 2021 changing the general working age from 12 to 16 years of age.

Under the new regulations, youth in Canada aged 14 to 15 years old will still be allowed to work.

The province has defined the types of jobs youths aged 14 to 15 as “light work.”

Light work includes recreation and sports club work, light farm and yard work, administrative and secretarial work, retail work, food service work and skilled and technical work.

With permission from their parents or guardians, youths can be lifeguards, writers or editors, sales and cashiers, gardeners or grass cutters, and bussers or dishwashers.

Children aged 12 and above can continue to be employed in a business or on a farm owned by an immediate family member, as long as the work meets the safety criteria set out in the regulation.

Youth will not be prevented from babysitting or delivering newspapers, nor will students be ineligible from working in a work study or work experience class.

Young performers in recorded and live entertainment will not be affected by these changes.

The new regulations have included changes to home-care worker and babysitter employment standards as well. This will ensure that those providing in-home care and babysitting services can work under more flexible arrangements with protection under the Employment Standards Act.

The amendment to the Employment Standards Act was initiated after consultations with more than 1,700 youth, parents and employers from multiple sectors in 2019.

Prior to the legislation, BC was the only province in Canada that allowed the employment of children as young as 12.

According to WorkSafeBC, young workers are often involved in hazardous environments at construction sites or heavy-industry settings.

More than $1.1 million was paid in job-related disability claims for workers 14 or younger between 2007 and 2016.

The province said work to define regulatory changes of “hazardous work” for 16 to 18 year olds will come later this year.

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