Home » Blog » New definition of age of dependants now in force – Expanded definition of dependent children will help more families stay together in Canada
Public Policy on the Age of Dependants

New definition of age of dependants now in force – Expanded definition of dependent children will help more families stay together in Canada

New definition of age of dependants now in force

Expanded definition of dependent children
will help more families stay together in Canada

October 27, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – The Government of Canada has changed the definition of the age of dependents from “under 19” to “under 22,” fulfilling a key mandate commitment of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. This change will help more immigrant families stay together. When newcomer families are able to stay together, their integration into Canada, and their ability to work and contribute to their communities all improve.

This change applies to all new applications received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on or after October 24, 2017. Parents who want to see if their child qualifies should first check our web tool.


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“By making our immigration program more inclusive, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to family reunification. Raising the age limit not only benefits immigrants whose families can stay together, it also helps to make Canada a destination of choice for immigrants, leading to significant economic and social benefits for our country,” said The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

To help even more families stay together, the government has introduced a public policy that would allow for the addition or sponsorship of some children whose parents had existing applications in process on May 3, 2017, or who have applied since that time. Regulatory changes to increase the maximum age of a dependent child were published on May 3, 2017, with a coming-into-force date of October 24, 2017.


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Permanent residence applicants who wish to add or sponsor a child under the public policy can also check our web tool to see if their child qualifies – specifically, if they were 19, 20, or 21 years of age on May 3, 2017, or on the date we received the parents’ application, if between May 3, and October 23, 2017. Applicants should notify IRCC as soon as possible, using a web form, as the notification period will end on January 31, 2018.

Once IRCC has been advised, we will contact applicants directly to tell them what they need to do to sponsor or add their child to their application. Children who are 22 years of age or older and who rely on their parents due to a physical or mental health condition will continue to be considered dependent children.

Those who do not qualify as dependants may still have several other options. Visit IRCC’s website to find out the ways someone may be eligible to immigrate to Canada.


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Other Links:

· Backgrounder – Determining who is eligible as a dependant under the Public Policy on the Age of Dependants

· Determine if your child qualifies as a dependant

· Help Centre: Can I sponsor a child who is over the age limit for a dependant?

· Help Centre: How can I add my child to my application?

· More details on the definition of the age of dependent children


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About Monika Spolia


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