Legal Age for Leaving Children Unsupervised Across Canada

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CWRP Information Sheet #213E. Montreal, QC: Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal

This updated study reviewed Canadian (a) statutory norms and jurisprudence to determine age at which children can be left unsupervised and (b) safety, child self-care and babysitting programs. Only three provinces establish a minimum age (12 or 16 years) at which children can be left alone or in charge of other children. Quebec is the only province with an age limit for leaving children unsupervised in a vehicle (seven years). Age is only one of the child factors generally considered by the courts in assessing adequate care and supervision. Canadian social services organizations advise that children under 12 years should not be left at home alone. Policy and advocacy efforts should provide accurate information and support to caregivers and children. This information sheet is an update of the 2015 information sheet with the same title by Ruiz-Casares & Radic.

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Information Sheet