New Restrictions on Teen Work


Kelly-Ann Côte, Graphic artist

The minimum age to work in Quebec will soon be set at 14 and between the ages of 14 and 16, a limit of five 17 hours per week will be required during the school year

In a report written last December, the Labor and Workforce Advisory Committee representing employers and unions recommended to set the general age of admission to employment to 14 years old , and to limit to 17 hours per week the adolescent aged from 14 to 16.

Due to the labor shortage, several teenagers aged 13, 12, and even 11 already have jobs, it is well known that this can encourage school dropouts because they make money without having to study.

In addition, a maximum of hours will be established during the school week, which means that from Monday until Friday, teenagers can only work 10 hours.

The exceptions

Some exceptions could be provided, for example, to do babysitting or even to help out in the family company.

The restriction concerning the number of hours at work will also be suspended during the summer period or the spring break to allow adolescents to work in day camps, however, parental consent will be required.

On the other hand, no exceptions will be authorized in other sectors such as catering or retail trade.

The fears

A certain amount of owners are concerned about this law, first of all, they will be forced to dismiss workers under the age of 14 without any further explanation plus, several Quebec companies have a big lack of personnel and this law will only make the situation worse.

People’s reactions 

Part of the population finds that this law is exaggerated while others wait impatiently for it to come into force.

”We will work, perhaps, to expand certain exceptions in the bill. There were concerns about certain employees, young people under the age of 14. It is clear that they will be disappointed to lose their jobs […]. We find the situation sad for these young people who will have to return home,” Stéphanie Lacasse, vice-president of public affairs for the Association of Food Retailers. 

”Most contractors agree that child safety and preventing school dropouts are much more important than filling a position for a few hours a week,” David Lecours, President of the CCIRN