The age at which children can legally be left at home alone for short periods of time varies varies from 10 to 12 years depending on the province of residence.
Alberta – There is no law in Alberta that specifies the age of children who can be left alone. Many Albertans expect families to arrange care or supervision for children left alone under the age of 12.
Ontario – Children of age 10 and over can be left home alone in Ontario. The period of being left alone should however be less than 2 hours.
The Criminal Code of Canada: Part VIII, section 215 to 218 states. (1)a states we have a legal duty as a parent, foster parent, guardian, head of family, etc. to provide necessaries of life for a child under the age of sixteen years; and can be imprisoned for up to 5 years if they are willfully negligent in doing so. Under section 218: Every one who unlawfully abandons or exposes a child who is under the age of ten years, so that its life is or is likely to be endangered or its health is or is likely to be permanently injured,
All school age children need to be supervised by a responsible adult and child’s age might not be the only determining factor if the child can be left at home alone.
Canada Safety Council’s advice on leaving child alone include:
- Set firm rules, with clear do’s and don’ts.
- Prepare your child to deal with situations that may arise.
- Specify how his or her time is to be spent.
- Keep in touch – if you’re hard to reach, get a mobile phone or pager.
- Make sure your home is safe and secure.
- Limit the time you leave your child at home alone.
More info here.
Our conclusion – 12 years old children can be left alone at home for not more than 2 hours.