Even though the industry standards in Part III of this guideline do not fall within the scope of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) or the Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015 (PCPA), the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development recognises these additional industry-supported standards as part of a broader commitment to the health and safety of child performers. Workplaces within the entertainment industry are strongly encouraged to incorporate these best practices into their workplace practices.

Provision of information to parents or guardians

It is recommended that in addition to the disclosure required by the PCPA, employers also disclose information about any proposed scenes that would include nudity or coarse language, or any scenes that could cause psychological or emotional stress. The parent should also be informed about any changes to scenes that include exposure to nudity or coarse language or to scenes that may cause psychological or emotional stress. The employer and parent or guardian should agree to any such change before the child is required to rehearse or perform the changed scene.

It is recommended that the employer provide the parent, guardian or authorized chaperone, and where appropriate the child performer, with copies of this Child Performers Guideline and Procedure for Work Refusal section in the Safety Guidelines for the Live Performance Industry in Ontario or the Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario.

In addition to the requirements of the PCPA, it is recommended that the parent, guardian, or authorized chaperone be given the name(s) of the individual(s) designated as the child performers’ coordinator or as the child attendant.

Information provided by parent or guardian

A parent or guardian of a child performer should provide the child’s employer with current contact and emergency telephone numbers, the child’s health card number, the name and number of the family doctor and pertinent medical information that would be useful in an emergency.

A parent or guardian of a child performer should complete and sign an emergency medical authorization form.

A parent or guardian should provide the child’s employer with information about any food sensitivities or food allergies.

Reporting and resolving health and safety concerns

There are circumstances where a child performer will not have the knowledge, forthrightness, or verbal skills to be able to recognize unsafe work. Therefore it is the responsibility of all adults at the workplace to look out for and protect the health and safety of child performers.

Anyone charged with the care of an infant or child performer (such as a parent, guardian, chaperone, child performer’s co-ordinator, child attendant or tutor) should take factors such as working conditions, physical surroundings, signs of the infant’s or child’s mental or physical fatigue, and the demands placed upon the infant or child into account and advise the parent, the employer, the supervisor, etc., if, in their judgement, conditions are such as to present a danger to the health or safety of the infant or child. For persons who are workers under the OHSA (such as the child attendant, or child performer’s co-ordinator), it is a duty to report a hazard to the employer (OHSA clause 28(1)(d)).

The employer should encourage child performers and all adults in contact with child performers to identify health or safety concerns, and to bring them to the attention of the child performer’s supervisor. Adults should be sensitive to the distress or discomfort expressed by infant or child performers, which could be an indication of health and safety issues.

The infant or child performer’s supervisor should respond immediately to concerns by stopping the work, having a discussion with the child performer, and the adults charged with the care of the infant or child, attempting to resolve the issue and, if necessary, taking corrective action. If there is no resolution to the concern, the supervisor should refer the concern to the next level of supervision.

As noted earlier, under subsection 43(3) of the OHSA, a worker has the right to refuse work that he or she believes is likely to endanger himself, herself, or another worker. The PCPA, in section 24, specifies that if the worker is a child performer who is under 14 years of age, for the purposes of sections 43 (3) to 43 (10) of the OHSA, “worker” includes a child performer’s parent, guardian, or chaperone.

Changing rooms

Male and female child performers should have separate dressing rooms. Where feasible, the dressing rooms should be separate from those provided to adult performers. Fittings for child performers should be conducted individually, in a private changing room. At no time should the child performer be left alone in a closed room with only one person (with the exception of the parent, guardian or authorized chaperone).

In the live entertainment industry, all quick changes should be planned and rehearsed to ensure the safety of the child.

Psychological stress

When a child performer is engaged to perform subject matter that could be psychologically damaging to the child, or results in psychological stress, a psychologist or therapist who is properly accredited by the applicable College should be hired by the producer to guide and assist the child to handle the emotional and mental stress of such subject matter.