Changes to employment standards rules in the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act are in effect for temporary layoffs, group terminations, and variances and exemptions. All other employment standards changes take effect November 1.

Basic rules

  • The Employment Standards Code outlines employment rules specific to people under 18 years of age. For more information, see youth employment laws for more information.
  • An employer may apply for a permit to employ:
  • The Director of Employment Standards issues permits at their discretion.
  • Existing permits that have not expired continue to be in effect unless revoked.

Jobs that don’t need permits

People age 13 or 14 may only work in jobs that are approved by Employment Standards.

No permits are needed for these approved jobs:

  • delivery person for newspapers, flyers and handbills
  • delivery person for small goods and merchandise for a retail store
  • clerk in a retail store
  • clerk or messenger in an office
  • certain duties in the restaurant industry, see Restaurant industry

Restaurant industry

People who are age 13 or 14 can do some jobs in the restaurant/food services industry under a Director’s Approval of an Occupation.

An employee age 13 or 14 can do the following jobs:

  • host/hostess
  • cashier
  • dish washer
  • bussing or cleaning tables
  • server or waiter
  • providing customer service
  • assembling food orders
  • sweeping or mopping in common areas

However, employees age 13 or 14 cannot:

  • use deep fryers, slicers, grills or other potentially dangerous equipment, or work where such equipment is used
  • work with or near any moving vehicles
  • work in areas where smoking is permitted

Employers of people age 13 or 14 must ensure that:

  • employees are under continuous adult supervision

Artistic endeavour permit

An employer must apply for a permit to employ a person age 14 or under in an artistic endeavour.

An artistic endeavour means work in:

  • recorded entertainment
    • film, radio, video or television
    • television and radio commercials
  • voice recordings for video and computer gaming
  • live performances entertainment industry
    • theatre plays
    • musical performances

Employers must wait until they receive a permit before having the employee start their job. Until a permit is issued by Employment Standards, work cannot be done by an employee 14 years of age or under.

How to apply for a permit

Permits for employees age 13 to 14

An employer must apply for a permit if the proposed employment is not on the list of approved jobs for people age 13 or 14.

Until a permit is issued by Employment Standards, work cannot be done by an adolescent employee. This helps parents or guardians, employers, and Employment Standards to make sure the job isn’t likely to be harmful to the adolescent’s life, health, education or well-being. Employers must wait until they receive a permit before the employee is allowed to start their job.

How to apply for a permit

Jobs that don’t qualify for permits

Permits will not be issued for these non-approved jobs that could be harmful to adolescents, including but not limited to:

  • construction
  • jobs requiring heavy lifting (anything exceeding 10 lbs)
  • working with or near fuel or propane
  • working with or near moving vehicles and equipment
  • working with potentially hazardous equipment, such as:
    • powered equipment (power tools, lawnmowers, line trimmers, etc.)
    • sharp objects (box cutters, exacto knives, slicers, etc.)
    • pressure washers
    • equipment that poses a risk of burn hazards (welding equipment, blowtorches, grills, deep fryers, ovens, etc.)
    • other hazardous equipment and tools (pneumatic drills, conveyors, hammers, etc.)

How to apply for a permit

Until a permit is issued by Employment Standards, work cannot be done by the adolescent employee. Providing all the required information one month in advance of the preferred employment start date is the best way to avoid delays in processing a permit application.

What you need to apply

An application for a permit must:

  • include the employer’s address and contact information
  • be signed by the adolescent, their parent or guardian, and the employer
  • include the adolescent's full name, birthdate and contact information
  • describe the employer’s business and the type of work for which the employer wishes to employ the youth
  • include any other information specified by the Director (see below)

The Director may require additional proof that certain criteria are met, which may include:

  • location of worksite
  • hazard assessment
  • job description
  • consent by a parent or guardian
  • description of training the youth will receive
  • level of supervision and supervisor qualifications
  • hours of work

Apply online

The fastest and easiest way to apply is to use the new online system. The PDF that was previously used to apply is no longer available.

After an application is reviewed

If approved, the Director will notify both the employer and the adolescent. The permit will include terms and conditions including those set out in the Regulation. If denied, the Director will notify the employer.

The Director may amend or revoke a permit at any time.

Publication of permits

Information about the permits for the employment of people aged 13 to 14, issued by Employment Standards, is made public, as outlined in section 63.2 of the Employment Standards Regulation.

Additional information will be available soon on how to search for issued employment permits.

How the law applies

Part 2 Division 9 of the Employment Standards Code and Part 5 of the Regulation details youth employment rules.

Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.