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Minimum Age and Workplace Restrictions

In Saskatchewan there are several workplace restrictions related to employment standards and occupational health and safety for young workers.

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1. Minimum Age of Employment

The general minimum age of employment in Saskatchewan is age 16.  An “absolute” minimum age of 14 has also been established provided those 14 and 15 year old workers fulfill certain requirements.  To work in Saskatchewan, 14 and 15 year olds are required to complete the Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course (YWRCC) and obtain a Certificate of Completion. 

Young people under the age of 14 cannot work unless the employer has a special permit from the Director of Employment Standards.  For more information about this permit, please see Permits and Variances.

Minimum age of employment rules do not apply to:

  • Family businesses employing only immediate family;
  • Self-employed;
  • Traditional farming operations;
  • Babysitters; and
  • Newspaper carriers.

 Minimum Age Requirements for Working in Saskatchewan
 Legislation Age
Requirement
Part II of The Saskatchewan Employment Act, Employment Standards
16 Saskatchewan’s minimum age of employment is 16.
14-15 Fourteen and 15 year olds can work under certain conditions. They need permission from a parent or guardian and they must complete the Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course and print a Certificate of Completion. The course can be taken online through the Government of Saskatchewan’s website.

Fourteen and 15 year olds can’t work more than 16 hours in a week in which school is in session, after 10 p.m. on a day before a school day, and before the start of any school day. They can work the same hours as other employees during school breaks and vacations.
Part III of The Saskatchewan Employment Act, Occupational Health and Safety 18 Workers younger than 18 also cannot work in certain industries.   For example, they cannot work in underground mining or in an open pit at a mine, as a radiation worker, in an asbestos process or silica process or where they need to use an atmosphere supplying respirator.
16 Workers younger than 16 cannot work in certain industries. For example, they cannot work on a construction site, in a confined space, in forestry or logging operations, on a drilling or servicing rig or in power line construction or maintenance industries.

 

Parent or Guardian Written Consent

An employer must have written permission from a 14 or 15 year old worker's parent or guardian along with their YWRCC Certificate of Completion before they are hired.  The consent of only one parent or guardian is required. One of the young person's parents or guardians must also sign the Certificate of Completion.

There is no prescribed written consent form.  Please see the Sample Parent/Guardian Consent Form for a sample that can be used.

Employers' Responsibilities

Employers are required to keep the parental consent form and the YWRCC Certificate of Completion on file for each employee under the age of 16.

They must also comply with the occupational health and safety legislation and all other employment standards legislation that apply to all workers, regardless of age. For example, a Certificate of Completion from the Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course does not remove the employer's duty to provide a workplace orientation, on the job safety training, and an adequate amount of supervision.  Also, while at work, inexperienced 14 and 15 year old workers should be under the direct supervision of an experienced and competent worker at all times.

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2. Young Worker Workplace Restrictions

Under The Saskatchewan Employment Act, there are several workplace restrictions for young workers.

Under employment standards legislation, if you are 14 or 15 years old, you must complete the Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course before working. If you are 14 or 15 years old and have completed the YWRCC, you will also need to be aware of the employment standard restrictions for 14 and 15 year olds which include:

  • You cannot work after 10 p.m. the night before a school day;
  • You cannot work before classes begin on a school day; and
  • You cannot work more than 16 hours in a school week.

During school breaks such as Christmas holidays or summer vacation, these restrictions do not apply and you can work the same hours as other employees.  All other employment standards apply to you.

There are also industries where you can and cannot work if you are under the age of 18 under occupational health and safety legislation. 

If you are under 18, you cannot work:

  • underground or in an open pit at a mine;
  • as a radiation worker;
  • in an asbestos process;
  • in a silica process; and
  • in any activity that requires the use of an atmosphere supplying respirator.

If you are under 16, you cannot work:

  • on a construction site;
  • at a pulp mill, sawmill or woodworking establishment;
  • at a smelter, foundry, refinery or metal processing or fabricating operation;
  • in a confined space (such as a manhole);
  • in a meat, fish or poultry processing plant;
  • in a forestry or logging operation;
  • on a drilling service rig;
  • as an operator of powered mobile equipment (such as a forklift, crane or a hoist);
  • where there is exposure to chemical or biological substances that could endanger your
  • health and safety; and
  • in power line construction or maintenance.

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