Quebec Enacts Law on Teen Work Hours, Restricting School-Time Labour

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Effective September 1st, 2023 individuals in Quebec aged between 14 and 16 are restricted to working a maximum of 17 hours per week, encompassing weekends, during the school year. 


Additionally, their work hours from Monday to Friday are capped at 10 hours and the minimum legal working age is established at 14.


The restrictions come into effect on the back of amendments to Quebec’s Bill 19, concerning the permitted working hours for young workers and coincides with the return of students to schools across the province.


Although Bill 19, proposed in March, suggests setting the general employment admission age at 14, as of May 2023, it permits children aged 13 and below to engage in jobs such as babysitting, fruit picking, family business involvement, and recreational activities.


How will Bill 19 protect young workers?


The law’s goal is to encourage young individuals to attend school regularly and shield them from workplace injuries. It garnered backing from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), its provincial occupational health and safety committee, and various other unions after Quebec’s workplace safety board, CNESST, reported that 203 children under 16 received compensation for work-related injuries in 2021.


Employers are mandated to consider teenage workers’ academic schedules, ensuring they are at home between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day, without work or commute during these hours, according to Protecteur du citoyen (The Québec Ombudsman). 


This obligation applies universally, accounting for residence location and travel time, even during weekends and busy work periods. 


However, limitations on nighttime schedules do not extend to newspaper delivery workers, babysitters, or young individuals involved in artistic productions. Similarly, these restrictions do not encompass youth employed at residential vacation camps.

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