working age minimums

Minimum Working Age Requirements in Ontario

The legal working age in Ontario is governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), not by the Employment Standards Act (ESA). Understanding these regulations is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure compliance and safety in the workplace.

General Minimum Age

  • 14 years old: The minimum age to work in most jobs such as offices, retail stores, arenas, and restaurant serving areas.

Specific Industries and Age Requirements

Industry Minimum Age
Manufacturing and Assembly Plants 15 years old
Repair Shops 15 years old
Restaurant Kitchens 15 years old
Automotive Service Garages 15 years old
Preparing Produce and Meat in Grocery Stores 15 years old
Shipping and Receiving Areas in Grocery Stores 15 years old
Laundries (e.g., in hospitals or hotels) 15 years old
Warehouses 15 years old
Mining Plants or Surface Mines (excluding the working face) 16 years old
Construction Jobs (excluding shaft attendants using a hoist) 16 years old
Logging Operations 16 years old
Underground Mines or at the Working Face of a Surface Mine 18 years old
Window Cleaning 18 years old
Offshore Work on Oil or Gas Rigs 18 years old
Shaft Attendant Roles Involving Hoists on Construction Projects 19 years old

Additional Restrictions

According to Ontario’s Education Act, children are required to attend school until they turn 18. Consequently, employers are generally prohibited from hiring children under 16 during school hours, except under specific exemptions as outlined in Ontario Regulation 374/10.

Student Minimum Wage

  • Current Rate: As of now, the student minimum wage in Ontario is $14.60 per hour.
  • Future Rate: Effective October 1, 2024, the student minimum wage will increase to $15.20 per hour.
  • Eligibility: Students under 18 years old who work 28 hours or less per week during the school year, including breaks and summer vacations, qualify for the student minimum wage. Those working more than 28 hours per week during school terms must be paid the general minimum wage.

Entitlements for Young Workers

Young workers are entitled to certain benefits, including the minimum wage (with exceptions for students under 18), holiday pay, and up to three days of unpaid, job-protected sick leave annually.

Compliance and Legal Support

Employers, ensure you are compliant with Ontario’s employment laws regarding minimum working age requirements. Contact Achkar Law for professional advice and support to navigate these regulations effectively. Protect your business and provide a safe, lawful working environment for all employees. Reach out today for legal assistance.

Toll-free: 1 (800) 771-7882 | Email: [email protected]

Concerned About Compliance with Student Wages or Hiring Minors? Contact Achkar Law

The regulations surrounding student minimum wages and employing individuals under 18 can be complex. If you’re an employer in Ontario with concerns about adhering to these employment laws, Achkar Law is here to help. Our knowledgeable employment lawyers can guide you through the legal requirements, ensuring that your practices are fully compliant and protect both your business and your young employees.



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