Updated March 29, 2021

Q1. How old do I have to be to work?

  • Under 14: Your parents have to give your employer signed written authorization.
  • 14 or 15: Businesses that employ 14- and 15-year-olds are harder to find, but they do exist! McDonald’s, small local restaurants and summer kiosks are some examples.
  • Under 16 (or turning 16 during the current school year): You are not allowed to work nights (between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.) and during school hours.
  • 16 and over: This is the minimum hiring age for most companies.

Q2. What do I put on my resumé?

At your age, it’s normal to have limited experience. Submit a neat, error-free document (ideally one page) listing: 

  • Your volunteer experience
  • Your qualities and strengths
  • School projects you are proud of
  • Your hobbies and interests, cultural activities or sports
  • And so on

Remember, a cover letter is super important! It should briefly explain why you want to work for the business and why it would be to their benefit. Be careful! Don’t repeat what is written in your resumé.

Q3. Where and when should I start looking?

Ideally, start before the end of the school year. For instance, cities start looking for day camp counsellors in the spring.

Job postings are everywhere: 

  • Online job posting sites
  • Offices, businesses and public spaces (e.g., CLSCs, caisses, convenience stores, libraries, arenas, community centres)
  • Job fairs
  • Placement services at your school
  • Online placement sites
  • Social media

The people around you can help you find a summer job: 

  • Your neighbours (e.g., grass cutting, outside maintenance, caretaking)
  • Your friends who already work (They can recommend you!)
  • Your parents’ employers (hmm… why not?)

Q4. Do I have to have a social insurance number (SIN)?

Yes, a SIN is mandatory for working in Canada. Go with your parents to a Service Canada office - Lien externe au site. Cet hyperlien s’ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. to request one. You must have original ID with you. It’s free and you will receive your number on the spot.

Q5. Do I have to pay taxes?

Normally, when you earn less than $10,500, you are not required to file a tax return. However, filing a return can be beneficial in the future. You can accumulate RRSP contribution room that you can use when you have taxable income.

Be cautious and never share your personal information (e.g., birth date, social insurance number) when applying for a job. You supply them to your employer once you’re hired.

Other questions? Ask us!

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