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Age-Based Legal Rights

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Introduction

The age of majority in British Columbia is 19 years old. That’s the age when someone legally becomes an adult and can do things like vote in an election. However, there are some things that young people can do before they legally become an adult.

Young people in British Columbia gain the legal right to perform specific activities at different ages. The table below provides a quick summary of aged-based rights for youth.

Age

Right or Responsibility

5

Attend school

12

Name change with permission of parent(s)

12

Consent needed for adoption

12

Able to work with consent of parent/guardian

12

Age of consent if partner is less than 2 years older

12-17

Responsible for crime - protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act

14

May be sentenced for crimes under adult law

14

Donate organs/tissues for medical purposes

14

Age of consent if partner is less than 5 years older

15

Able to work without consent of parent/guardian

16

Leave school

16

Able to write a will

16

Marry with permission of parent(s)

16

Apply for own passport

16

Get a driver’s licence with permission of parent(s)

16

Age of consent

17

Join the armed forces with parental consent

17

Able to donate blood

18

Vote in a provincial or federal election

18

Able to run in an election

18

See a restricted/adult movie

18

Entitled to full minimum wage

19

Enter a binding contract

19

Get married (without parent’s permission)

19

Get a driver’s licence (without parent’s permission)

19

Drink/Purchase alcohol

19

Age to gamble

19

Buy lottery tickets

19

Join the forces without parental consent

19

Minimum age required to adopt a pet from SPCA

19

Leave home (without parent’s permission)

19

Age to receive a credit card in BC

19

Buy cigarettes

19

Sue or be sued on your own

19

Name change (without parent’s permission)

no legal age

Babysitting

no legal age

Consent to health care treatment depending on maturity level

no legal age

Getting tattoos or piercing

no legal age

See school records

no legal age

Testify in court

no legal age

Single parents can sign up for social assistance

no legal age

Consume alcohol at home, if supplied by parent(s)

no legal age

Protection from age-based discrimination

In this section, you can learn about age-based legal rights for the following activities: