Jean Boulet has decided: children under the age of 14, with some exceptions, will no longer be able to work in Quebec, despite the context of the labor shortage and pressure from restaurateurs, who opposed this new restriction.

The Minister of Labor presented Bill 19 on Tuesday, which regulates child labor. Despite the appeal of restaurateurs, who asked the government not to establish a minimum age to work, Quebec will prohibit as soon as it is sanctioned employers from employing a child who is not 14 years old. The only exceptions are activities that are associated with an extension of school and family life, and which carry little risk to their health. Mr. Boulet cites the example of childcare, childcare, summer camps or the work that is done in a family business with fewer than 10 employees by the child of the owner or his life partner.

For children who meet these exceptions and for those between the ages of 14 and 16, employers will no longer be able to have them work more than 17 hours per week during the school calendar, including a maximum of 10 hours between Monday and Friday. These standards will be applied from the next academic year, in September.

Minister Boulet explains that his bill respects the recommendations made last December by the Advisory Committee on Labor and Manpower, which brings together employer and union representatives from Quebec. He claims that this framework was made necessary because of the 540% increase in the number of occupational injuries recognized by the CNESST between 2017 and 2021 and with the aim of promoting school perseverance.

Currently, unlike other jurisdictions, there is no minimum age to work in Quebec. The Association Restauration Qu├ębec (ARQ) opposed the imposition of such a limit.