Minister Leitch tables International Labour Organization's Convention 138 in House of Commons

May 14, 2015, 15:56 ET from Employment and Social Development Canada

Harper Government signals intent to ratify international convention on minimum age for admission to employment

OTTAWA, May 14, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Canada's Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, tabled the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention 138 Concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, signalling the Government of Canada's intention to ratify it.

Convention 138 requires ratifying member states to set a minimum age for employment of 15 years of age and to prohibit hazardous work for young workers under the age of 18. Under the Convention, children aged 13 to 15 are allowed to perform "light work" that is not likely to be harmful to their health, development or attendance at school.

For example, the Convention allows signatory countries to permit young people to work on family farms or for family businesses and to participate in activities such as babysitting or newspaper delivery. One of the Convention's key objectives is to ensure that children and young workers do not leave school to join the workforce full time.

Quick Facts

  • The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that sets international labour standards, encourages decent employment opportunities, enhances social protection and strengthens dialogue on work-related issues.
  • International labour standards take the form of conventions and protocols, which are legally binding international treaties subject to ratification by member states, and recommendations, which provide non-binding guidance. They influence labour laws and practices in ILO member states and contribute to improved labour and employment conditions for workers globally.


"Canada supports ratification of conventions that will protect vulnerable workers against exploitation and human rights violations. Our Government is committed to ensuring that the best interests of children are given priority and that all children have the opportunity to pursue an education to develop their skills."
– The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P., Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women

Associated Links

Canada's Economic Action Plan
Labour Program
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
International Labour Organization


SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada