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Part II: Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015
Pursuant to section 26 of the Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015 (PCPA), which incorporates by reference Parts VIII and IX of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development occupational health and safety inspectors enforce sections 4, 6(1), 6(2), 6(3), 10, 14, 15, 17, and 20 to 25 of the PCPA, using their powers under the OHSA. This guideline does not deal with sections enforced by employment standards officers, using their powers under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
Before employing or contracting for the services of a child performer, an employer must hold a meeting with the child performer’s parent or guardian. This meeting could be held in person, by telephone, or by electronic conferencing. The child performer is also entitled to be present (subsection 4(1) and 4(2) of the PCPA).
The information to be disclosed by the employer at the meeting includes:
- A general description of the role
- The location and hours of rehearsals and performances
- Any health or safety hazards, as well as the precautions that will be taken to prevent injury
- Any special skills that the child performer will be expected to perform
- Any special effects to which the child performer may be exposed (subsections 4(1) and (2))
The employer must disclose any proposed changes to the matters dealt with in the meeting, and may not implement any of the proposed changes without the written agreement of the child performer’s parent or guardian (subsection 4(3)).
In addition, the employer must provide the child performer with the relevant portions of the script before the production begins (subsection 4(4)).
Travel to and from work
Child performers under 16 years old must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or authorized chaperone when travelling to or from the workplace (subsection 6(1)):
An authorized chaperone, for the purposes of travelling to and from work, is a person who is at least 18 years of age and is authorized in writing by the child performer’s parent or guardian to travel to or from the workplace with the child performer (subsection 6(2)).
It is recommended that the employer and parent or guardian confirm arrangements for transportation of the child performer to and from the workplace in writing before the engagement begins.
If an employer requires a child performer to be away from home overnight, a parent or guardian of the child performer must accompany the child at all times (subsection 6(3)).
No child under the age of 15 days may work in the recorded entertainment industry (section 10). No child less than 2.5 years of age may work in the live entertainment industry (section 17).
Adults in the workplace
Recorded entertainment industry
In the recorded entertainment industry, if a child performer is under 16 years of age, then the employer must ensure that there is a parent, guardian, or authorized chaperone present at the workplace and accessible to the child performer at all times (subsection 14(1)).
Where the parent, guardian or authorized chaperone is at the workplace, it is recommended that the parent, guardian or authorized chaperone accompanies the child performer to hair, makeup and wardrobe.
If two or more child performers have the same parent or guardian, are under the age of 3, and are at the same workplace, the employer must ensure that there is one parent, guardian or authorized chaperone per child (subsection 14(2)):
For the purposes of adult accompaniment at a recorded entertainment industry workplace, an authorized chaperone is a person who is at least 18 years of age, is designated in writing by a child performer’s parent or guardian to be the child performer’s chaperone, does not employ or contract for the services of the child performer, and is not the child performer’s tutor (subsection 14(3)).
In addition to a parent, guardian, or chaperone being present and accessible, an employer must designate a child performers’ co-ordinator, who is responsible for co-ordinating matters related to the welfare, safety and comfort of child performers. If six or more child performers work at a particular workplace, the child performers’ co-ordinator may not also be the child performers’ tutor (section 15).
Live entertainment industry
The parent or guardian of a child performer may designate a chaperone to be available to the child performer while the child performer is at the workplace.
For the purposes of adult accompaniment at a live performance workplace, a chaperone may be:
- the parent or guardian of the child performer, if the parent or guardian is not working on the same production (paragraph 1 of subsection 20(2)); or
- a person who has reached 18 years of age, is not working on the same production or project as the child performer and, is not the child performer’s tutor (paragraph 2 of subsection 20(2)).
An employer must designate a child attendant to be responsible for monitoring child performers at the workplace, while the child performers are not rehearsing or performing (subsection 21 (1)):
A person may be designated as a child attendant if that person, is at least 18 years old, is not working in the same production or project as the child performer(s), does not tutor any of the child performers in the production or project, and possesses a clean criminal record, as defined by the regulations (subsection 21(2)).
Where possible, the same child attendant should be appointed for the length of the production to monitor the child performers. When the child attendant is on a break or otherwise unavailable, there must be a suitable replacement, who meets the criteria in subsection 21(2).
An employer must ensure the following ratios are met:
- where the youngest child performer at the work-place is under six years of age, there is at least one child attendant for every six child performers present;
- where the youngest child performer at the work-place is six years of age or over but under 10 years of age, there is at least one child attendant for every 10 child performers present; and
- where the youngest child performer at the work-place is 10 years of age or over, there is at least one child attendant for every 15 child performers present (subsection 21(3)).
In addition to the information and instruction, and training required under the OHSA, an employer must provide information and instruction to a child performer and for the parent, guardian, or chaperone of the child performer on the following matters with respect to each location where he or she works (subsection 23(1)):
- Emergency procedures, including health and safety precautions specific to the location
- Restricted areas
- Safe waiting areas
- Location of washrooms, makeup areas, and other areas relevant to the child performer’s work
- The procedure for identifying and reporting unsafe working conditions.
The training for the child performer must be appropriate to his or her developmental stage (subsection 23(2) of the PCPA).
An employer who provides food to child performers must provide the child performers with healthy snacks and meals at the workplace as close to the child performer’s regular snack and meal times as possible (subsection 25(1)).
All meals, snacks and beverages should meet the recommendations set out in the Health Canada documents “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide,” “Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide - First Nations, Inuit and Métis,” or “Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants,” as amended from time to time.
The employer must ensure that the food provided meets the child performer’s needs in respect of food allergies and special dietary requirements (subsection 25(2)).
An employer who provides food to child performers should consider posting menus detailing the healthy snacks and meals provided, such that child performers (and their parents, guardians and chaperones) can be informed about the food available, for those child performers with food allergies and special dietary requirements or restrictions.