Child performers guideline
Learn how Ontario’s laws promote the best interests and well-being of child performers in the entertainment industry.
This guideline has been developed for paid child performers who are working in the live entertainment industry and/or the recorded entertainment industry.
Child performers are special and need particular care and protection. Many aspects of the workplace or their work activities represent a potential level of risk that is much higher for children than it would be for adults. This may result from the child’s smaller physical size, lower tolerance to chemical hazards or temperature extremes, shorter attention span, and the expectation that child performers may not behave responsibly at all times with respect to their own health and safety, among other factors.
All workplace parties must be guided by what is in the best interests of the child performer. Child performers must be treated with respect at all times. No child performer may be physically punished or subjected to other harmful, frightening or humiliating treatment. Parents and guardians have an important role to play when their children are contracted to work, and should be included in discussions about the roles and responsibilities of the workplace parties, the child performer, and the child’s parents, guardian, or chaperones.
A child performer joint subcommittee, with members from the Live Performance and Film and Television Health and Safety Advisory Committees, has developed this guideline. Some of the measures in this guideline represent best practices within the industry when dealing with child performers; however, they are not legal requirements. Inspectors with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development may refer to these measures in determining whether employers have taken every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of child performers as required under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
This guideline should be read in conjunction with either of the following sets of guidelines, whichever is applicable: the Safety Guidelines for the Live Performance Industry in Ontario or the Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario. The measures that represent best practices in the above guidelines should be considered to apply to child performers, except where there are specific and more stringent best practices for child performers in this guideline.
Child performers are covered by the OHSA and its regulations. The main purpose of the OHSA is to protect workers, including child performers, from health and safety hazards on the job.
Child performers are also covered by the Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015 (PCPA) and its regulations. The main purpose of the PCPA is to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of child performers.
This resource does not replace the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations and should not be used as or considered legal advice. Health and safety inspectors apply and enforce these laws based on the facts they find in the workplace.
- Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development online health and safety publications:
- Ropell-Baruchel, Robyne. The Stage Parent Survival Guide (2nd Edition), ACTRA National, 96 pages, 2002.