Minimum age for work
Learn about the minimum age to work in certain industries and visit certain workplaces in Ontario.
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Minimum working age by industry
Regulations made under the OHSA set out the minimum working age for certain industries.
You must be at least 19 years old to be a:
- shaft attendant for a shaft where a hoist is being used on a construction project
You must be at least 18 years old to work:
- in an underground mine or at the working face of a surface mine
- in window cleaning
- offshore on or from an oil or gas rig
You must be at least 16 years old to work in:
- a mining plant or surface mine, excluding the working face
- construction, excluding the role of shaft attendant for a shaft where a hoist is being used
- a logging operation
You must be at least 15 years old to work in factories, other than a logging operation, such as:
- manufacturing or assembly plants
- repair shops
- restaurant kitchens
- automotive service garages
- produce and meat preparation in grocery stores
- shipping and receiving areas in grocery stores
- laundries (for example in a public hospital or a hotel)
You must be at least 14 years old to work in other industrial establishments, such as:
- restaurant serving areas
The above restrictions setting the minimum age for work at 15 or 14 years old do not apply to a worker who works as a performer in the entertainment and advertising industry as defined in subsection 4(4) of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments, but under the Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015 no child:
- under the age of 15 days may work in the recorded entertainment industry (section 10)
- less than 2.5 years of age may work in the live entertainment industry (section 17)
Other restrictions on the age of workers
Under the Education Act, children must generally attend school from the age of 6 until the age of 18. Employers are also prohibited from employing children under the age of 16 during school hours. However, the Education Act provides a list of legal exceptions to these requirements. For example, children aged 14 years and older may be excused from school or required to attend school only part-time in order to attend supervised alternative learning programs, which may include employment. See Ontario Regulation 374/10, Supervised Alternative Learning and Other Excusals from Attendance at School.
In addition to the regulations made under the OHSA that set the minimum age for working in Ontario workplaces, some employers have their own policies for minimum ages in the workplace.
Age to visit the workplace
People who are too young to work in industrial establishments such as offices, stores, arenas, restaurants and factories are still allowed to visit those workplaces if any of the following conditions are met:
- they are accompanied by someone who is at least 18 years old
- they are being guided on a tour of the industrial establishment
- they are in an area of the establishment used for sales purposes
- they are in an area of the establishment that is accessible to the public
Unless accompanied by and under the direction of a guide, you must be at least 18 years old to visit:
- underground mines
- the working face of a surface mine
You must be at least 16 years old to visit:
- a construction project while work is being performed there
- surface mines (excluding the working face) or mining plants, unless accompanied by and under the direction of a guide.
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.