Canadian Federal Government Increases Minimum Work Age and Minimum Wage for Federally Regulated Employees

This month, the federal government made two announcements that are relevant to federally regulated, private-sector employers regarding the minimum age for employment and the minimum wage. Canada provides this list of federally regulated industries and workplaces.   

Minimum Age for Employment

On March 9, 2023, in accordance with the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, the Governor in Council fixed June 12, 2023 as the day on which the Canada Labour Code (CLC) will be amended to increase the general minimum age for employment in the federal sector from 17 to 18 years old, subject to certain exceptions.  

Those who are 17 and employed by an employer on the effective date of the amendment will be treated as if they were 18 years old. 

Currently, pursuant to s. 179 of the CLC, an employer may employ a person under 17 years of age only in an occupation specified by the regulations and subject to the conditions fixed by the regulations.

Section 10 of the Canada Labour Standards Regulations (CLSR) provides that an employer may employ a person under the age of 17:

  • in any office or plant,
  • in any transportation, communication, maintenance or repair service, or
  • in any construction work or other employment in a federal work, undertaking or business if:
    • the person is not required, under the law of the province in which they are ordinarily resident, to be in attendance at school; and
    • the work in which the person is to be employed
      • is not carried on underground in a mine,
      • would not cause them to be employed in or enter a place they are prohibited from entering under the Explosives Regulations, 2013,
      • is not work as a nuclear energy worker as defined in the Nuclear Safety and Control Act,
      • is not work that they are prohibited from doing under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 by reason of their age, or
      • is not likely to be injurious to their health or to endanger their safety.

Section 10 of the CLSR also provides that an employer may not cause or permit an employee under the age of 17 to work between 11 p.m. on one day and 6 a.m. on the following day.

On June 12, 2023, when the minimum age of employment in the federal sector increases to 18, the rules set out in s. 10 of the CLSR will apply to persons under the age of 18.

Minimum Wage

On March 21, 2023, Canada announced that effective April 1, 2023, the federal minimum wage will increase from $15.55 to $16.65 per hour.  If, however, the minimum wage in the province or territory where the employee usually works is higher than the federal minimum wage per hour, the employee must be paid the higher provincial or territorial minimum wage. Canada provides this summary of Current and Forthcoming General Minimum Wage Rates in Canada.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.