Young People

1. What does "age of majority” mean?
The "age of majority” is the age at which you are considered an adult under the law. There are different ages of majority under federal, provincial and territorial laws. According to federal law, the age of majority is 18. At this age you can vote in federal elections and have to obey the Criminal Code of Canada. In British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, Nova Scotia, and Yukon the regional age of majority is 19. At this age you can vote in provincial/territorial elections and have to obey provincial laws.

2. At what age can young people leave school?
The age at which a young person can leave school depends on the province in which they live. In most provinces, young people can leave school at age 16, but in other parts of Canada they have to continue to attend until they graduate or turn 18. Some common reasons young people drop out of school early are:
•  not liking or doing well at school,
•  being constantly bullied and harassed,
•  needing to support themselves or their families.
If you are considering leaving school early ask your school counsellor, who will be able to answer any questions you have, and can help you think through your options. For example, children aged 14 years may leave school to attend supervised alternative learning programs, which may include employment.

3. At what age can young people move away from home?
In Ontario, at 16 years of age or older, you can generally decide where you want to live. You can live with someone else against the wishes of your parents. The other person will not be charged with a criminal offence as long as he or she does not assist you in leaving home, but your parents can contact the police to have you returned home if you are living in a place that is not safe.
You have a right to take all of your personal documents and property with you whether you bought them yourself or they were given to you as a gift. This includes all of your identification such as health cards, birth certificates, and passport. These documents are very important and you should take them with you. If your parents are refusing to let you take your documents or your own property you can contact the police or a lawyer for help. Your parents could be taken to court for not returning your personal belongings.
Leaving Home Rights
See also video: Leaving Home in Ontario

4. What is the minimum age to get married?
Requirements vary according to the province or territory a person wishes to get married in. For example, in Ontario, persons wanting to get married (without parental consent) must be at least 18 years old and in British Columbia they must be at least 19 years old. With parental consent (from both parents) it is possible to get married at 16 or 17 years. In some provinces, written parental consent is required if any party wishing to get married is under 19 years old. Under 16-year-olds are generally not able to get married, but exceptions are made (in some provinces) if written parental permission is given, or the bride is pregnant or is already a mother. Under 16-year-old persons have to go to court and ask the judge for permission to marry. The judge will only agree if he or she thinks this is good for them.
Source: Marriage Requirements in Canada

5. What is the minimum age to start working?
Children under 15 years of age may not work during school hours. But after school hours children are allowed to do jobs such as babysitting to earn pocket money or to help their families. Children 15 and over can work. They have the same laws to protect them as adult workers.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act sets the minimum ages to work as follows:
•  18 years of age for Underground Mines,
•  16 years of age at a Mining Plant or Surface Mine,
•  18 years of age for Window Cleaning,
•  16 years of age for Construction and Logging Operations,
•  15 years of age for Factory Operations and Repair Shops,
•  14 years of age for all other industrial establishments.
Source: Is there a minimum age for work under the Employment Standards Act, 2000?

6. What is the legal age to purchase alcohol?
The legal drinking age in Canada is the minimum age at which a person is allowed to buy and drink alcohol. It is determined separately by each province and territory in Canada. According to current provincial law, the legal drinking age in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec is 18, and in other provinces and territories it is 19. If the buyer of alcohol looks young, the seller is required to demand from him an identity card, which can be a passport or driver’s licence. In Ontario, anyone 19 years of age or older may buy liquor or wine from the "LCBO" (government-run liquor stores). Beer may be purchased from "The Beer Store.” These outlets are located throughout Ontario. There are also some chain stores that have a licence to sell wine only, and alcohol can also be purchased directly from breweries, wineries and distilleries. In Ontario it is an offence to use alcohol in any place other than a residence or a licensed premise. If you are caught by the police with open alcohol outdoors you may receive a fine.

7. What is the legal age to purchase cigarettes?
The legal age to purchase cigarettes is 19 in most provinces of Canada, with the exception of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec, where the legal purchasing age is 18. This also applies to electronic cigarettes, which are now legal to use. If the buyer of tobacco or cigarettes looks young, the seller is required to demand from him an identity card, which can be a passport or driving licence. There are inspectors who will fine convenience stores and other shops that sell tobacco if they are selling tobacco to minors without asking for identification. To buy matches or lighters there are no age restrictions; it is at the discretion of the merchant. If you are a smoker, you should be aware that it is illegal to smoke on and around children’s playgrounds and sports areas, and in all bars, restaurants and adjoining patios.

8. When can young people get a passport?
Every Canadian child travelling abroad should have a temporary passport, which can be obtained at the request of a parent. If parents are divorced, the application is completed by the one with whom the child lives. While the child is under 16 years of age, a place for the signature section is not completed by the owner. After reaching the age of 16, young people in Canada get a permanent passport. To get a passport, immigrants must have a Certificate of Citizenship issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the last name on the passport will be the same as on the Certificate Certain procedure described at the site

(To be continued)