From a legal point of view, you become an adult at 18 in Quebec.But did you know children and teens get some rights before then?

Éducaloi's youth website has a handy tool called "Are you old enough?" It shows legal rights at various ages.
Here are some interesting facts:

Working
In Quebec, there's no minimum age to have a job.But there are rules to protect children:

  • Until the end of high school at age 16, a job can't interfere with school.
  • Under age 14, children need written parental permission, except for babysitting.
Criminal Law
Children can be charged with a crime as of age 12. But that doesn't mean they are treated like adults. There is a special criminal system for 12- 17-year-olds.
Under age 12, extreme behaviour problems can be handled by the youth protection system.

Piercing or Tattoo?

There is no set legal age for this.
But some courts have decided that teenagers under 14 need parental permission.
For teens 14 to 17, most courts have decided they can make their own decisions if they understand the impact of the decision and there are no serious health risks.
But remember that piercing and tattoo salons can set their own rules. So they can refuse people under 18.

Shopping
The general rule is that people under 18 can buy things for their "ordinary needs."
This includes food and clothing.
What about things that are out of the ordinary, like a car?
In those cases, parents have to give permission, buy the item for the child, or give a guarantee for payment.

Medical Treatment
The law gives rights gradually as children mature.Under 14, parents make the decisions for children.
From 14 to 17, teens can make decisions on their own about care necessary for their health. This can include taking medication and blood tests.

For all kinds of medical treatment, if there is a hospital or clinic stay of more than 12 hours, parents must be informed.

Apartments
Does your child want to strike out on her or his own and get an apartment?
There's no minimum legal age to sign a lease.
But landlords can ask for references and do credit checks to make sure the young person can pay the rent.
Landlords can also ask parents to sign a guarantee for the rent.

Want to learn more?
See the Crimes, Tickets and Fines section of Éducaloi's Youth Zone: www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/youth


Éducaloi is a non-profit organization that explains the law to Quebecers in easy-to-understand language. www.educaloi.qc.ca

Important! This article is meant as legal information, not legal advice. If you need advice about a specific situation, consult a lawyer or notary.

The information is up to date to June 14, 2016. It deals with Quebec law only.