Labour laws in Canada are supposed to protect workers from exploitation and ensure their safety, but they are not always helping teenagers who are entering the workforce for the first time.
Most provinces require that anyone younger than 16 or 14 obtain a permit to work or have written permission from their parents.
Children under 12 are almost never allowed to work, unless it might be helping on a family farm.
Teens who do work face many restrictions, including limits on how many hours and which hours they’re allowed to work.
Some of these rules seem rather unnecessary.
In Alberta, 12- to 14-year-olds are forbidden from working more than two hours on a school day.
Two-hour work shifts four days a week are more disruptive than four-hour shifts two days a week.
Minimum wage laws also make it more difficult for young people with no experience to find their first job.
In the United Kingdom, there’s a lower minimum wage for people between the ages of 18-20 and for those under 18.
Teenagers who live at home are often able to accept lower wages than adults.
It’s time for governments to show more consideration for the needs of young people when developing labour policies.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
For more on policies affecting the workplace, visit our website www.fcpp.org.