Feds reduce age limit for children

Feds reduce age limit for children

The federal government is amending the immigration regulations which deal with the children of landed immigrants as protected persons in Canada with respect to eligibility requirements.

As of Aug. 1, the government issued a bulletin with respect to changes in the definition of a dependent child and this will apply across all CIC lines of business, including temporary residents.

The pre-amendment definition of a dependent child includes children under 22 years and not a spouse or common-law partner, or who are 22 or older and dependent on a parent either because they are a full-time student or they have a physical or mental condition.

Before these amendments, procedures to “lock-in” the age of a dependent child at a specified point in time in processing a permanent resident application were broadly described in the regulations.

The new definition of “dependent child”, in respect of a parent, means a child who has one of the following relationships with the parent:

  • is the biological child of the parent, if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner of the parent, or
  • is the adopted child of the parent; and
  • is in one of the following situations of dependency, namely,
  • is less than 19 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner, or
  • is 19 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 19 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.

This amendment narrows the definition of dependent child and involves two key changes:
a reduction in the basic age limit for a dependent child from under 22 to under 19 years and
the elimination of eligibility for older children to be considered as dependants on the basis that they are students.

Two key provisions that have been retained in the new definition are civil status and lack of capacity to be self-supporting for certain dependent children. A child will not be considered a dependant if they are married or in a common-law relationship. Children with a physical or mental condition that prevents them from being able to financially support themselves will continue to be considered as dependants.

The new definition will apply to permanent resident applications received by CIC on or after Aug. 1, except for those that are subject to a transitional provision.

Effective Aug. 1, this new definition will also be applied to determine whether the accompanying child of a temporary resident applicant qualifies as a dependant, and any other references to “dependent child” in the IRPR are to be interpreted in terms of the new definition.

It is the writer’s view that this new definition may have a chilling effect on prospective applicants who may wish to make Canada their home and have children nearing 19 years old and are not eligible to be accompanied as dependents or children of refugee applicants who may not wish to leave their children behind.

Sukhram  Ramkissoon  is a member of ICCRC and specializes in immigration matters at 3089 Bathurst St., Suite 219A, Toronto. Phone 416-789- 5756.