Canadian Contractor

Daniel Reale-Chin   

B.C. sets minimum age for construction workers

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Amendments to the Employment Standards Regulation now mandate new minimum-age requirements for jobs, including construction.


Construction workers in B.C. must now be at least 16 years old. New hazardous work for youth regulations came into effect in the province on January 1, following amendments to the Employments Standards Regulation that were originally announced in October of last year.

The Ministry of Labour has identified several jobs that were deemed too hazardous for young workers in the province, including some jobs in construction, forestry, food processing and asbestos removal. According to ministry data, the average injury rate of workers was 2.2 per cent in 2021, but some jobs, including those in construction, have much higher injury rates. For example, framers in the construction industry have an injury rate of 7.8 per cent among workers.

WorkSafeBC reports that more than $26.4 million in job-related disability claims were paid out from 2012 to 2021 to workers between the ages of 16 and 18 at the time of their injury.

Beyond the 16-year age minimum for high-hazard jobs, the government is also mandating that workers be at least 18 years old to do hazardous tasks, including powerline construction, exposure to silica dust, work in confined spaces or work that requires a respirator.


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