Can minor children work in Canada?

Canada welcomes hundreds of thousands of international students every year. Some of those students are minor children. Of course, the primary purpose of their presence is studying. However, can minor children also work in Canada?

Who is a minor child?

A child who has not reached the age of majority is a minor child. Interestingly, the age of the majority varies in different parts of Canada. Look at the following table for more information.

Age of Majority Province or Territory of Canada
18 Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island
19 British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut,  New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,
Newfoundland and Labrador

Knowing who a minor child is could be helpful. However, we need to know at which age a person may work in Canada.

The minimum legal age for working in Canada

The minimum legal age for working depends on the provincial rules. Of course, these rules include some exceptions. Nonetheless, these rules cover both foreign national and local minor children. The following table shows regional regulations. However, I may have omitted some of the exceptions.


Province Minimum legal age to work Remarks
Alberta 13 years Many restrictions apply. Regardless, children who are 12 or younger may do artistic work.
British Columbia 15 years Children between the ages of 12 and 14 may also work. However, they must have written consent from their parents or legal guardians.
Manitoba 13 years However, children between 13 and 15 must complete a Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course before working.
New Brunswick 16 years Nevertheless, the employers may apply to the Director of the Employment Standards Branch for Authorization to employ a child under 16 years.
Newfoundland and Labrador Sixteen years Hiring under the age of 16 is also possible. However, the Labour Standards Act places some restrictions on the employment of children under 16.
Nova Scotia 16 years Of course, minor children may not take any jobs. Moreover, children 14 and 15 may work in restaurants, subject to some conditions.
Ontario 14 years Regardless, minors may not work during school hours.
Prince Edward Island 16 years Under the Youth Employment Act, employers may hire children under 16. Nevertheless, there are many restrictions.
Quebec No minimum age However, children under 14 must have their parents’ or guardians’ consent to work.
Saskatchewan 16 years Nonetheless, 14 or 15 may work if they have their parents’ or guardians’ consent. Moreover, they must complete the YWRCC and obtain a Certificate of Completion.


Territory Remarks
Northwest Territories  No minimum age! Nonetheless, youth less than 17 years of age require authorization from the Employment Standards Officer to work between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. or during school time. Moreover, anyone under 16 may not work in specific industries, such as construction and forestry, among others.
Nunavut No minimum age! However, hiring children under the age of 17 is subject to many restrictions. For example, the hours of employment and the nature of the job!
Yukon Just like the other two territories, no minimum age! However, just like other provinces and territories, there are many restrictions for youth workers.

Note: These tables are not official. Therefore, consult with local authorities for official guidelines.

Restrictions on minor children who are foreign nationals

As mentioned earlier, age restrictions apply to all minor children. Moreover, a foreign national needs authorization to work in Canada. Therefore, a minor child who is a foreign national may only work if they hold a valid work permit. Unfortunately, unlike post-secondary students, minor children may not use their study permit to work. The work permit process for minor children is the same as other foreign nationals. If one of their parents is a high-skilled worker, they may apply for an open work permit under IMP C46. For all other situations, read the following articles:

Some minors who study in Quebec could work without a work permit. I have another article that explains this matter in detail.

Questions about minor children who wish to work in Canada?

If you have a general question about this subject or other subjects, fill out the following form. However, please book an appointment with me for official advice about minor children working in Canada or other immigration subjects. Of course, you may also fill out our free assessment form.

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.