Youth Employment in Canada

Opportunities and regulations for part-time work for teenagers in Canada...

The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is a government strategy aimed at 15 to 30 year olds to help them gain the experience and skills to find employment. Government funded places can be secured in government departments or community organisations in order to gain work experience and specialised skills.

Service Canada Centres for Youth (SSCY) help students find full-time employment as well as summer jobs.

  • For more information about youth employment strategies, youth internship programmes and SSCY: Click here
  • For information provided by the federal government about employment, travel, volunteering and taxes for young people: Click here

Most students work summer jobs, but these have become relatively difficult to find over the course of the global economic crisis. Service Canada has more information about finding a summer job to gain work experience, for both secondary and post-secondary students: Click here

Provincial governments may also provide schemes to help teenagers find summer jobs.

  • For British Columbia's WorkBC website: Click here
  • For a list of Quebec's programmes and measures on employment: Click here

Minimum Age and Employment Hours

The minimum age for employment in Canada varies between provinces according to the local employment regulations. Youth generally have wide access to employment to increase work experience and life skills and are protected by regulations safeguarding their health and safety, development and education.

Provincial requirements vary but, in general, it is unlikely that a child under 12 years of age would be able to work without specific consent from the relevant employment authority.

Employment during school hours is severely limited. Hours of work in most provinces/territories for children between 12 and 14 years are restricted to between two and four hours on a school day and up to eight hours any other day.

Minimum wage

Some provinces have different minimum wage rates for young workers and adult workers but, as a rule, different rates for youth workers are becoming increasingly uncommon. However, in some provinces the adult minimum wage rate is only applicable for youths over 16 or 17 years (Newfoundland and Yukon respectively).

  • To check minimum wage rates for youth workers and specific occupations in all provinces and territories: Click here
  • For information about current and forthcoming minimum wage rates for adult workers in Canada: Click here