A number of jobs have been identified unsuitable for young people. Thus the Province of B.C. has implemented minimum age requirements for certain jobs, beginning Sunday, January 1, 2023.

WorkSafeBC data revealed that, between 2012 and 2021, more than $26.4 million was paid out in job-related disability claims for workers who were aged 16 to 18 at the time of their injury. Amendments to the Employment Standards Regulation were announced in October 2022.

A number of jobs within several industries were identified as too hazardous for young workers. This includes some jobs within construction, forestry, food processing, oil and gas and power, and asbestos removal.

The identification following public and stakeholder consultations and analyses of injury data, led to new rules outlining certain jobs that require a minimum age of 18, such as logging, smelting, and oil drilling. A minimum age of 16 was determined to be appropriate for construction work, fish processing and some animal processing work.

The following is the list provided by the Province of B.C. for the appropriate minimum age for certain lines of work.

A minimum age of 16 to undertake the following activities:

  • construction;
  • silviculture;
  • forest firefighting; and
  • working from heights that require fall protection.

A minimum age of 18 to undertake the following activities:

  • tree falling and logging;
  • using a chainsaw;
  • work in a production process at a pulp, paper, saw, shake or shingle mill;
  • work in a production process at a foundry, metal processing or metal fabrication operation, refinery or smelter;
  • powerline construction or maintenance where an electrical hazard exists;
  • oil or gas field servicing and drilling;
  • work with dangerous equipment in fish, meat or poultry processing facilities;
  • silica process/exposure to silica dust;
  • work in which a worker is or may be exposed to potentially harmful levels of asbestos;
  • exposure to harmful levels radiation;
  • working in a confined space or underground workings; and
  • work requiring a respirator.

In B.C. the average annual injury rate in 2021 was 2.2 per 100 workers, but some jobs have much higher injury rates. 

For example:

  • framers in the construction industry have an injury rate of 7.8 per 100 workers;
  • workers in abattoirs have an injury rate of 15.7 per 100 workers; and
  • manual tree fallers/buckers have an injury rate of almost 20 per 100 workers.

The age restrictions do not apply to industry training programs overseen by SkilledTradesBC. As well, current employees who reach the prescribed age by April 1, 2023, are excluded from the age requirements. This ensures youth can still access important apprenticeship and training opportunities. 

With an effective date of Jan. 1, 2023, employers were provided time to adjust the work performed by existing young employees.