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How old do I have to be to work in Alberta?

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Answer

As a teen or pre-teen, you may want to start making some of your own money. Good news: you can! But there are some rules about the kinds of jobs you can do at different ages.

Age 12 and under

If you are 12 years old or younger, generally you can work in the arts. For example, you can be paid for a role in a play if your employer has a permit. Other examples of work you can be paid for include:

  • recorded performances for movies, radio, television, video, and computer games
  • live performances such as in plays, choirs and bands

Age 13 to 15

At these ages, you can do more. Businesses no longer need a permit to pay you for work in the arts. They can also get permits to hire you for other types of light work. Information about what is considered light work will be available soon. Visit the Employment Standards Website to learn more.

If you are 13 or 14 years old, you can’t work:

  • more than 2 hours on a school day
  • more than 8 hours on a non-school day
  • at night (between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.)
  • during normal school hours, unless you are enrolled in an off-campus education program

If you are 15 years old, you can’t work:

  • between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • during normal school hours, unless you are enrolled in an off-campus education program
  • in a hazardous job, like jobs with power tools

Age 16 to 17

At these ages, you can do almost any job, including hazardous work. For hazardous work, you must have a permit, proper training and supervision.

You can now be hired to sell:

  • food or drinks, including alcohol
  • gasoline, diesel fuel, propane or similar products
  • many other goods and products

You can also work at a hotel or motel. You need an adult supervisor from 9 p.m. to midnight. And you can’t work after midnight unless:

  • your parent or guardian consents in writing, and
  • there is an adult supervisor

School comes first

No matter what job you take, if you are under 16 years old, you can’t work during school hours. That’s because all kids in Alberta under 16 are supposed to be in school.

Finding work

Your best bet as a young person looking for your first job is to ask people you know. Your neighbours, parents and parents’ friends are good places to start. If you have friends who already work, ask if their workplaces are looking for more help. Good luck!