Campaigns and Issues

Employment of Children and Youth in BC – Briefing Note on Recent Announcements


Last week, BC’s Minister of Labour introduced Bill 8 in the legislature that will amend the Employment Standards Act to provide better protections for children and adolescents who are working.

This Bill modernizes BC’s employment laws and brings us into compliance with international standards, specifically the International Labour Organization’s Convention 138 on the minimum age of employment – an agreement the Government of Canada ratified in 2016.

While these legislative changes set a direction that will greatly improve protections for working children and adolescents, the Ministry must now engage with British Columbians (including youth with recent employment experience), as well as review workplace injury data to determine what jobs, tasks and hours are appropriate.

First Call has been calling for change for over 15 years! Year after year, WorkSafeBC data has shown that too many children – 12 to 14-yr-olds are getting injured working in construction, manufacturing, trade and service jobs. Our briefing note explains the history and current announcements, as well as answers Frequently Asked Questions.