Can underage performers play in bars in Canada?

Can underage performers play in bars in Canada?
Hi Allison,
My 16-year-old hotshot guitarist son wants to start playing in bars, either in open jam sessions or with his band. Do we have to get approval each time he wants to play in a licensed club? Or can he can get some sort of general exemption so we don't have to file a lot of paperwork in advance? Would Nova Scotia paperwork be valid in other provinces?
Halifax NS

Hi David,
In Nova Scotia, it is the responsibility of the venue owner to make sure everyone in the bar is of age – whether they are patrons or performers. So venue owners who want to have an underage performer on the stage must file a request at least five days in advance of the show. Kiddo's parent(s) must consent, and there has to be a chaperone present at the gig. The form must be filed for every venue and for every gig.  It is available here.  

The laws that allow a minor to play a gig in a bar are a matter of provincial jurisdiction, which means they change from province to province, just like the drinking age itself. Most provinces have an allowance for minors involving the filing of a permit or consent, but in Alberta, for example, minors are prohibited from playing in licensed establishments even if they have parental permission and/or a chaperone. In conclusion, Nova Scotia rules and Alberta drools.


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