By Khaula Siddique


We had a couple of questions recently about part-time jobs for kids. What is the legal age when teens can start working and what are some options available to them?

Officially the legal age to work in Ontario is 14. At this age kids are allowed to work at stores, restaurant serving areas and offices (it also depends on the business- not everyone will hire a 14 year old!) For more details about what type of work is allowed for what age please check out the Government of Ontario website. For details on the minimum wage they should be receiving you can check out the Employers PDF for employing young workers.

Of course there will always be the initiative driven 11-12 year-old that is ready to cat sit, mow a lawn, shovel snow out of a driveway or wash a car for the neighbours and if they are mature enough for that responsibility why not?! Getting kids a part-time job teaches them responsibility, interacting with different people, and financial literacy, they will learn how much effort is required to earn money and how to spend it more wisely! They are certainly more careful when they have to work for the things they want and it is a great life experience. It also teaches them how to work with others, take an initiative to work on their own, and build their confidence. It is a great way for them to start networking and learn how important that is and how much it pays to be friendly, courteous and to leave a good impression on someone.

Finding a Job

So how can you help your teen find a job? If you have small business owners in your network, that might be a good start. One member mentioned that the YMCA has a Youth Engagement Program.

There are also Pet Stores or Animal Shelters, kids love animals so these types of jobs or volunteer opportunities go fast! Visit your local pet shelter or pet store to see when they start hiring or take volunteers. Another great place to volunteer is at a food bank or any organization that works with seniors. It is one of the best ways to give back to the community, plus it teaches kids about different difficulties faced by members of the community and hopefully an attitude of gratitude!

Local grocery stores and Fast Food joints always need high schoolers, so that is another great place to check out. Summer jobs are available at garden nurseries and the kids learn a lot about plants and how to take care of them. Plus it is such a beautiful place to work! The Government of Ontario has summer jobs every year and you can find out more on this link.

Running Their Own Business

If your child has a skill or passion that is something they can turn into their own little business. These days kids have a lot of digital skills, they can create designs for flyers, ads or even social media posts. Some kids have great video editing skills and there is free software available to start off with. What about crochet or knitting? Every year there are craft fairs and holiday markets, it is a great experience to have a stall and deal with customers!

Encouraging kids to volunteer, work part-time or start their own business is a great way to support kids to be more independent, confident and get a taste of the real world!

About the Author

Khaula Siddique, artist at Khaula’s Art, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now paints stories on large walls. She loves bringing art to the community and achieves this through interactive art activities and public art projects. When she is not painting, she is over-indulging her large eccentric orange tabby who part-times as her critic and her muse. You can find her art shenanigans on her website, Khaula