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New employment standards for youth under 13

The Government of Alberta is updating employment rules for youth aged 12 and under.

The new standards only apply when there is an employment relationship, such as jobs where employers make mandatory deductions or provide benefits such as vacation pay. They do not apply to volunteer activities or casual work such as babysitting, lawn-mowing, snow-shovelling or farm and ranch work.

The changes mean that youth aged 12 and under will only be able to be employed in artistic endeavours such as film, stage or television productions, and only with parental/guardian consent and a government-issued permit.

Government consulted with more than 100 individuals and organizations, including employers, parents, students, volunteer groups, worker support centres and farm representatives in its work to update the standards.

“By providing clarity on the standards for employing youth under age 13, the updated legislation will ensure stronger protection for children, while still offering them the choice to gain valuable life experience through their first jobs.”

Christina Gray, Minister of Labour

The changes complete the revisions to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code and Regulation that took effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Employers must provide proper training and supervision for young employees and inform parents/guardians of any workplace risks. The revised youth employment standards take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

  • Rules have not changed for youth aged 13 and up.
  • Youth aged 13-14 can be employed in such jobs as a store clerk, server, delivery person, dishwasher and food assembler, or in other jobs with a permit and parental consent.
  • Youth aged 15-17 can be employed in most occupations; however certain requirements for supervision and restrictions on hours of work apply.
  • Youth employment rules do not apply to farms and ranches.
  • Employment standards do not generally apply to casual work such as babysitting, lawn-mowing or snow-shovelling.

Media inquiries

Government of Alberta