Best Practices for Employment of Young People in the Entertainment Industry
Pursuant to Section 9(1) of the British Columbia Employment Standards Act, a child older than 15 days old and under 15 years of age may not be employed in British Columbia without the written consent of the parent/guardian.
The Director of Employment Standards has the authority to establish regulations to ensure minimum standards of employment of children employed in British Columbia. Part 7.1 Division 2 Regulations 45.5 to 45.14 governs child employment in the entertainment industry, which is defined as the film, radio, video or television industry or the television and radio commercials industry. The employer, parent/guardian must be familiar with and comply with the regulations. Failure to comply with the Employment Standards Act and Regulations could result in mandatory penalties of $500, $2,500, $10,000.
The Director of Employment Standards has entered into a partnership with the BC Producers Branch of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, the Canadian Affiliates Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers and Actsafe to increase awareness of employers and employees' rights and responsibilities under the Employment Standards Act and Regulations with respect to the employment of children in the entertainment industry. The partnership will also serve to foster best practices in the industry. The following practices are recommended to ensure that the conditions of employment for children in the industry are protective of the child's welfare and reflect sound labour practices.
1. Right to Refuse - The utmost emphasis must be placed on the need to provide a safe and healthy working environment for children employed in the entertainment industry. No child should be required to work in a situation which places the child in danger to life or limb, is unsafe or unhealthy, including if the child or parent/guardian has an honestly held belief that the child is in such a situation.
Circumstances may include:
- Dangerous Situations. If the child or parent/guardian believes the child would be in danger, the parent/guardian should request an immediate consultation with the employer's representative and/or stunt coordinator. The situation should be reviewed and discussed with the parent/guardian and child.
- Stunts. The employer must secure the written consent of the parent/guardian before any child may perform a stunt. (see section 11) A child may refuse in spite of consent.
- Work with Animals. A child should not be required to work with an animal that a reasonable person would regard as dangerous in the circumstances. The employer should ensure that an animal handler or trainer qualified by training and/or experience is present and such handler or trainer can guarantee the safety of the child.
2. Physical, Athletic or Acrobatic Activity When the child is asked to perform physical, athletic or acrobatic activity of an extraordinary nature, the child's parent/guardian should be advised of the activity prior to the engagement of the child. If, in the parents'/guardian's opinion, the child is fully capable of performing such activity, the parent/guardian should expressly inform the employer's representative that the child is fully capable.
3. Safety Equipment The employer should comply with any reasonable request from the child or parent/guardian for equipment that may be needed for the safety of the child.
4. Children Employed in Scenes Depicting Child Abuse or Carnal Acts If a child is employed to perform in a scene that depicts child abuse, nudity or carnal acts, the employer should consult with the parent/ guardian and make available to the child and his/her parent/guardian a qualified mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker) to assist the child in preparing for participating in any such depiction. A child should not be present during such scenes unless it is essential for the child to be on camera.
For additional information contact:
5. Parent/Guardian Actions are Subject to Review The parent/guardian must be familiar with the regulations and must provide written permission for the child to be employed. See Sample Permission Form.
Parent/Guardian Must be Present
The parent/guardian/chaperone should be on the set, should have the right to be within sight and sound of the child and is responsible for the child at all times while the child is on the set. It is recommended a monitor that provides both audio and visual be made available for the parent/guardian or chaperone to view filming of a scene when circumstances restrict the number of people on set (except section 6). The regulations outline that parent/guardian/chaperone to child ratio shall be no greater than:
Age of Child
Number of Children
15 days to less than six years
six years to less than 12 years
12 years to less than 15 years
The regulations stipulate that one parent/guardian may be designated for up to a maximum of three children provided the parent or guardian is working as an extra or background performer on the same production set.
6. Parent/Guardian Must Accompany Child When Traveling Notwithstanding section 5, the parent/guardian should accompany the child when traveling to a location in which the child will be housed overnight. The employer should be responsible for all travel, food and accommodation expenses.
7. School Endorsement Although endorsement is not required, the parent/guardian should insure that discussion has taken place with the school authority prior to the child commencing employment.
8. Emergency Medical Authorization The parent/guardian should ensure emergency medical authorization is provided to enable the employer to obtain necessary emergency medical treatment for the child.
Parent/Guardian Disclosure: The parent/guardian should disclose to the employer, in writing, any medical history or condition or any attitudinal or psychological condition of their child of which the parent/guardian is aware which might foreseeably interfere with, or have an impact on, the child's ability to carry out the role for which he or she is being considered.
9. Parent/Guardian Must be Familiar with Child's Role The parent/guardian should review the child's script or discuss any role for which the child is employed to portray, with the employer, before the child commences employment. The Assistant Director, Casting Director, and Talent Agent should make their best efforts to convey the role to the parent/guardian. If necessary, to ensure the parent's/guardian's understanding, an interpreter should be provided, at the employer's expense, to describe the nature of the role.
10. Parent/Guardian Must Execute Written Consent for all Stunts The parent/guardian should execute a written consent permitting the child to perform any stunt. The stunt should be described in a language in which the parent/guardian is fluent, prior to the parent/guardian executing written consent in English and where necessary initialed by the translator. (See section 1b).
11. Rest and Recreation The parent/guardian should work closely with the employer to ensure adequate rest and recreation is provided for the health and safety of the child.
12. Chaperon Proxy The parent/guardian can designate another adult, nineteen and over, who is not the employer or the tutor, or employee of the employer or tutor, to act as a chaperone. The parent/guardian should initiate a proxy for the chaperone to ensure that the chaperone is able to make decisions on behalf of the child as required.
13. Additional Adults for Multiple Children/Infants In accordance with the regulations, when more than one child/infant of a parent/guardian is employed on the same production at the same time but at separate locations, it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure that there is one adult to care for each child/infant. Each parent/guardian may be counted as one adult (see section 5).
14. Statutory Remittances The parent/guardian has a fiduciary duty to manage their child's income from the employment, which includes making certain that the appropriate statutory remittances are paid.
15. Infant Defined A child less than 15 days old cannot be employed. An infant, although not defined by the regulation, is normally considered a child less than three years old and more than 14 days old.
16. Physician's Statement It is recommended that the parent/guardian should secure a written statement from a physician confirming that he/she has examined the infant and the infant is in good health, if there is no reason why the infant should not be employed.
17. Adequate Facilities for Infant The employer should provide adequate sanitary facilities for the care and rest of infants when employed. This would include a crib, changing table and a private, quiet and warm area where the infant may be fed and may rest without being held.
18. Appropriate Food The employer should ensure that craft services provide appropriate food items specific to the age groups of children on set. The employer should provide appropriate storage facilities for infants or children's food items.
19. Exposure to Light An infant should not be exposed to light of greater than 100 foot candle intensity for more than 30 seconds at a time.
Exposure to Tobacco Smoke
Applicable WCB laws and regulations pertaining to tobacco smoke must be followed.
When using special effects and artificially created smokes, the producer should take steps to prevent exposure of the infant to the smokes. For more information refer to the Actsafe website at http://www.actsafe.ca/.
20. Multiple Infants According to the regulations, when more than one infant is employed, it is the parent/guardian's responsibility to ensure that there shall be one adult to care for each infant (see section 5).
21. Handling Infants Hands should be washed before and after handling infants and before and after changing diapers.
22. Altering an Infant's Appearance When substances are used for altering an infant's appearance, provisions should be made for bathing the infant after the shot. Foods that commonly cause allergic reactions should not be used to alter the appearance of the infant's skin, unless a medical doctor specifically approves their use. These foods include, but are not limited to, raspberry and strawberry jams, jellies, preserves and peanut oil.
Permission should be obtained from the parent or guardian prior to applying any substance to the infants skin. Consumer products including glycerin, lubricating jellies, and cosmetics should not be used to alter an infant's appearance without the consent of the parent/guardian.
Once wardrobe and props have been issued by the production for use on/with an infant, the wardrobe and props should not be reissued for another infant until the wardrobe has been laundered and the props have been disinfected.
23. Sanitizing Infant Accessories Infant accessories provided by the production, such as bassinets, cribs and changing tables, should be sanitized at the time of delivery to the set, and on a regular basis. Infant accessories should not be exchanged from one infant to another without first having been sanitized, (bottles, nipples and pacifiers should not be exchanged between infants).
Trailer Holding Tanks
Trailer Holding Tanks should not be pumped while the infant is present or immediately prior to the infants' arrival. The trailer should be well ventilated prior to the arrival of the infant.
24. Making a Tutor Available In those situations where the child is scheduled to work three days or more, the employer should make a tutor available if the child cannot complete a regular school day at their regular school on each day of work. The tutor should have appropriate qualifications that are recognized in Canada. The tutor should have a Criminal Records Review Act Search and have no relevant criminal record.
25. Adequate Area to Teach - Classroom Facility The employer should provide an adequate teaching area that is quiet, clean, heated, and adequately lighted.
The employer should also provide basic school supplies and appropriate furniture.
26. Adequate Time Per Day Daily tutoring should occur during the workday and should not be less than three hours per workday.
It is recommended that the child be tutored in a minimum of 20 minute blocks.
27. Number of Students Per Tutor The employer should provide a ratio of not more than ten children per tutor, except that up to 20 children may be taught per tutor if the children are not separated by more than two grade levels.
If the tutor is not qualified in both elementary and high school and the children concerned are of both age groups, there should be two tutors, one tutor qualified at the elementary school level and one tutor qualified at the high school level.
28. Banking Tutoring Time Banking of tutoring time should take place only when the combined work/school schedule is unusually heavy.
- Banking should be monitored. The tutor may decide that it is in the best interest of the child to cease banking of hours.
- Banked time should not exceed 12 hours per month and should be used within 30 days of the last banked time worked. During summer holidays, to prepare for the commencement of regular school, the bank could exceed 12 hours but may not exceed more than one week of the allowable hours available in a normal work period, depending on the age of the child. All banked time should be completed by the end of the production shooting schedule.
- Usage of banked time shall be paid. Banked hours may not extend the workday beyond that set out for the age group in the regulations and the child should be under the immediate supervision of the tutor at all times.
- When regular school is not in session, the maximum hours that may be banked on a non-working day is five hours for any child. Non-working days are school holidays, school vacation, summer holidays and weekends.
- When a child attends his/her regular school on a day when he/she has not worked, he/she could be tutored separately after school for banking purposes a recommended additional two hours maximum per day.
- It is recommended that a maximum of three hours of banked time for elementary grades and four hours for high school grades may be used in any one work day in lieu of on-set tutoring, provided they do not exceed the maximum hours of work for that child's age group.
- The employer should ensure an accurate record is kept of when tutoring time is banked and when it is used. The employer should keep records of tutoring hours for each child for a period of six months.
- Homework should not be counted as banked tutoring time.
- The parent, tutor and producer may agree to vary the above noted provisions.
29. General Provisions If the child's regular instruction is primarily in a language other than English, the employer should use his/her best efforts to provide instruction in that language.
o The tutor, in consultation with the employer and the parent/guardian, should determine the required number of hours to be devoted to instruction during a work day.
30. Child's Coordinator When six or more children are engaged on a production, one individual on each set or location should be designated by the employer to coordinate all matters relating to the welfare and comfort of such children. The employer should provide the name of the individual designated as coordinator to the parents of the child. The individual designated should have as his/her sole responsibility, the welfare and comfort of the children.
It is highly recommended that the employer ensure that the designated child's coordinator has undergone the Criminal Records Review Act search and no relevant criminal record exists.
31. Monies in Trust According to Employment Standards regulation 45.14 if a child employed in the entertainment industry earns more than $2,000 on a production, the employer must remit 25 percent of any earnings over $2,000 to the Public Guardian and Trustee to hold in trust for the child.
Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia
Suite 700 - 808 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 3L3
Telephone: 604 775-3480