Age of dependants

Change in definition of Age of Dependants

On 24 October 2017, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations changed to reinstate the maximum age for a dependent child as under 22 years. (From 1 August 2014 to 23 October 2017, the maximum age was under 19 years).

The CCR has prepared a document providing detailed practical information about the change, particularly with regard to people who have applications in process at the time of the regulatory change on 24 October 2017.

Key points

  1. The change in age affects all immigration categories (privately sponsored refugees, Government-Assisted Refugees, dependants of refugees accepted in Canada, Family Class sponsorships, dependants of Live-in Caregivers, and every other category).
  2. The change in age only applies to applications for permanent residence made on 24 October 2017 or later. It does not apply to any applications in process at the time of the change. (See more information in the document, under “Applications in process”)
  3. The rules about “lock-in dates” for the age of dependants continue to apply. In some multi-step processes, the age of the dependent child may be “locked in” at a date before the permanent residence application. This means that in some cases children who are older than the maximum age (19 until 24 Oct, 22 after 24 Oct) at the time of the permanent residence application count as dependants under the regulations, because their age is “locked in” at an earlier date in their process. (See more information in the document, under “Lock-in dates”.)
  4. People who completed the first step of a relevant multi-step process (e.g. made a refugee claim or applied for an initial Live-in Caregiver work permit application) before 1 August 2014 are subject to the pre-August 2014 rules regarding dependent children. The 24 October 2017 changes do not apply to them.



Multi-step processes and lock-in dates

Starting 1 August 2014, there are lock-in dates for some multi-step processes. The age of the dependent child is “locked in” at the first step in the process.

Immigration category Lock-in date
Accepted refugee claimant Date refugee claim made
Privately sponsored refugee (Quebec) Date Quebec receives undertaking application
Government Assisted Refugee and Blended Visa Office Referred Refugees (BVOR) Date UNHCR made the referral
Live-in Caregiver (this program has been closed but there are still applications in process) Date of initial work permit application 
Provincial nominee Date province or territory receives provincial nomination
Quebec economic immigrant Date Quebec receives application for a Certificat de sélection du Québec

Temporary Public Policy on the Age of Dependants (closed January 2018)

Some people were covered by the Temporary public policy regarding requests to process children aged 19 to 21 as dependants", which facilitates the addition of young adult children to applications in process. 

The Public Policy on the Age of Dependants applies to people with:

  • A permanent residence application in process at any time 3 May - 23 Oct 2017; and
  • A child who was 19, 20 or 21 years old
    • on 3 May 2017 (if application submitted before then), or
    • when the application was submitted.

Note that the Public Policy also applies in cases where the parent has already been granted permanent residence, as long as it was on 3 May 2017 or later.

Deadline to add a child under the Public Policy: 31 January 2018.

The child can be:

  • Added to an application still in process; or
  • Sponsored within one year of the parent being granted permanent residence.

See IRCC backgrounder


Government resources

IRCC, Program delivery update – October 24, 2017

IRCC, Tool to calculate age of dependants

IRCC, Dependent children

IRCC, Temporary public policy regarding requests to process children aged 19 to 21 as dependants

IRCCBackgrounder on Public Policy (including chart)