Juggling Work and School

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In Quebec, there’s no minimum age to start working. But if you want to work while you’re still in school and you’re under 16, school has to come first.

School Before Work

In Quebec, you have to go to school until the age of 16.

So, until the end of the school year when you turn 16, your employer must make sure that school comes before work when scheduling work shifts. For example, your employer can’t ask you to skip school to work.

Your employer also has to consider where you live to make sure you’re at home by 11 p.m. and don’t have to leave home before 6 a.m. for morning shifts.

Note that these rules about shifts do not apply to these jobs:

  • newspaper delivery job
  • babysitter
  • if you work for a company putting on artistic performances
  • counsellor at a sleep-away camp

Working Before the Age of 14

If you want to work before you turn 14, you need your parents’ written permission, except for babysitting.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international treaty signed by over 190 countries, including Canada. On purpose of the Convention is to make sure children around the world have fair working conditions.

For example, countries that signed the Convention must protect children from work that is harmful to their health or adversely affects their education or development.

According to the International Labour Organization, in 2016, about 152 million children worked. Of these children, 73 million did dangerous work. Dangerous work is work that is harmful to a child’s physical, mental or moral well-being, such as prostitution or slavery, or a job that requires too many hours or is too physically demanding.