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Youth and the Law in Alberta/Work

From Canadian Legal FAQs

< Youth and the Law in Alberta

Work

How old do I have to be to get a job?

It depends on the kind of job

Between the ages of 12 and 14 (inclusive) you may work in the following jobs:

  • delivery person for newspapers, flyers or handbills;
  • delivery person for small goods or merchandise for a retail store;
  • clerk in a retail store;
  • clerk or messenger in an office;
  • host/hostess in a restaurant or food service establishment;
  • cashier in a restaurant or food service establishment;
  • dishwasher in a restaurant or food service establishment;
  • person who busses tables in a restaurant or food service establishment;
  • server (waiter/waitress) in a restaurant or food service establishment;
  • person who provides customer service in a restaurant or food service establishment;
  • person who assembles orders in a restaurant or food service establishment; or
  • cleaner in a restaurant or food service establishment.

However, for all of these jobs, there are special rules that apply. For example: the job cannot be harmful to your life, health, education or welfare, and your parent or guardian must give your employer written consent before you start work. There are also restrictions on matters such as the times of day that you may work and the length of time for which you can work.

Youth between the ages of 15 and 17, inclusive, can work in many more areas, but they are subject rules that people over age 18 are not. For example: you can only work between midnight and 6 a.m. if your parent or guardian gives the prospective employer written consent.

For more information see: Alberta Employment and Immigration – Employment Standards > Adolescents and Young Persons Fact Sheet (PDF – 4 p.) from the list of Additional Resources.

When am I old enough to babysit?

There is no law that says what age you must be before you can babysit. Ultimately, it is up to the adults to determine if a teen is ready, capable and prepared to babysit. Parents must leave their children in the care of a person who can properly look after them.

Your ability to care for children will depend on things like: your age, maturity, training, experience, the number of children and their ages and needs, and the length of time for which you will be alone with the children. It is interesting to note that the Alberta Safety Council will not give a child a babysitting course diploma before age twelve.

How old do I have to be to be paid minimum wage?

There is no specific age. Instead, the right to minimum wage depends on the kind of work you do.

Alberta’s ‘’’Employment Standard Regulation’’’ sets out three minimum wage rates:

  • an hourly minimum wage for most employees;
  • a weekly minimum wage for many salespersons and professionals; and
  • a monthly minimum wage for domestic employees.

This same law lists the kinds of employees who are exempt from the minimum wage rules. These include:

  • farm or ranch employees whose employment is directly related to the primary production of: eggs, milk, grain, seeds, fruit, vegetables, honey, livestock, game-production animals, poultry, bees or cultured fish;
  • students in training courses approved by the Director of Employment Standards;
  • students in off-campus education programs provided under the ‘’School Act’’;
  • students in work experience programs approved by the Minister of Advanced Education and Technology or the Minister of Employment and Immigration;
  • counsellors or instructors at non-profit educational or recreational camps for children or disabled persons, or at non-profit religious camps; and
  • extras in a film or video production

Also, laws relating to minimum wage do not apply to babysitters.

For more information on the rules about minimum wage, see: Alberta Employment and Immigration – Employment Standards > Minimum Wage from the list of Additional Resources.

At what age must I start filing an income tax return?

There is no specific age.

Instead, the question of whether you should file a tax return depends on whether you have earned enough income do so.

If you earn more than the amount of the personal exemption allowed by the Canada Revenue Agency within one tax year, you will need to report that income on an annual tax return. Things to consider:

  • If you work in a job that does remit part of your pay for taxes, some of those taxes have already been paid.
  • If you work in a job that does not remit part of your pay for taxes and you think you might earn more than the personal exemption in a tax year, you may want to put some of your income away to pay the income tax when it becomes due.
  • If you work in a job that does remit part of your pay for taxes and you did not earn as much as the personal exemption, you may want to submit a return in order to get those funds back.

To learn more about paying income taxes, see the list of Additional Resources for the following information from the Canada Revenue Agency:

At what age must I start paying taxes?

There is no specific age.

Instead, it is a question of how much you have earned in a tax year (January 1 – December 31). If you earn more than the amount of the personal exemption allowed by the Canada Revenue Agency within one tax year, you will need to report that income on an annual tax return and you may have to pay taxes. Whether or not you will need to pay taxes depends on exactly how much you earn and how many deductions and credits you have.

To learn more about paying income taxes, see the list of Additional Resources for the following information from the Canada Revenue Agency:

Do I need to pay income tax on money earned babysitting?

If you earn more than the amount of the personal exemption allowed by the Canada Revenue Agency within one tax year, you will need to report that income on an annual tax return. Most casual babysitters will not earn enough income from babysitting alone to owe income tax.

Parents who hire you to babysit do not need to take any deductions off your pay, as they are not considered “employers”. Similarly, you are not considered an employee. Instead, you are considered an “independent contractor”. If you think you might earn more than the personal exemption in a tax year, you may want to put some of your income away to pay the income tax when it becomes due.

The parents of the children you are babysitting may still want a receipt from you, as they may be able to use it for their income tax return.

How old do I have to be to start a business?

Technically, there is no minimum age for starting a business on your own.

That said, persons under the age of 18 will run into numerous problems because they have not yet reached the age of majority. For example: you will not be legally allowed to enter into most of the contracts that you will need. You may not be able to obtain credit.

As a result, you will need the help of someone who is over 18, such as a parent or other responsible adult or guardian.

How old do I have to be to get a pilot’s licence?

You can start flying at any age, provided you can reach the controls. However, you must be at least 14 years of age to fly an airplane solo, and 17 years old to get your private pilot’s licence.

For more information about private pilot licensing requirements, see the webpages from Transport Canada on the list of Additional Resources.



This page was last updated in November 2010.