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Young workers

An employer may employ workers under 18 years of age in their company, but certain conditions apply depending on their age and situation. Furthermore, an employer may not ask a minor to perform work that exceeds their abilities or that might:  

  • compromise their education 
  • adversely affect their health or physical or moral development 

To hire a young person who is under 14 years of age, an employer must obtain written authorization from one of their parents or their guardian. The employer must keep this authorization for 3 years as if it were an entry in their company register. 

School attendance

An employer of a young person who is required to go to school in accordance with the Loi sur l’instruction publique must ensure that their work schedule does not prevent them from attending class. This means that a young person may not work during school hours if they: 

  • are under 16 years of age and do not have their Secondary 5 diploma 
  • turn 16 during the school year. In this case, they must go to school until the last day of the school calendar 

For example, Nicolas, who turns 16 during Secondary 4, may not work during school hours until his school year is over. But, once he is in Secondary 5, he could work during school hours.  

An employer must also make sure that the young person’s work schedule allows them to be at home between 11 p.m. on one day and 6 a.m. on the following day, even on weekends or in the summer, unless they are no longer required to go to school. This obligation does not apply if the young person: 

  • delivers newspapers 
  • creates or interprets works in the following artistic fields:  
    • theatre and lyric theatre  
    • music, dance and variety show 
    • filming, dubbing and recording advertisements  
    • records and other forms of sound recording  
  • works for a social or community organization, such as a vacation camp or a recreational centre, if the young person’s conditions of employment require that they be housed at their place of employment and if they are not required to go to school the following day 

However, a young person under 16 years of age who is required to go to school may babysit, even after 11 p.m. The legislation does not apply to babysitters who work on a casual basis.

Memory aid
Age Conditions
Under 14 years of age
  • May work if their parent or guardian provides their employer with written authorization

Under 16 years of age without a Secondary 5 diploma or turned 16 during the school year but is required to go to school

  • Their schedule must allow them to go to school during school hours 
  • Their schedule must allow them to be at home between 11 p.m. on one day and 6 a.m. on the following day (unless they deliver newspapers, create or interpret works in an artistic field, work at a vacation camp or if their conditions of employment require that they be housed at their place of employment and they are not required to go to school the following day)
Under 18 years of age and not required to go to school
  • No work schedule restrictions 

Laws and regulations

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