Negative Changes to Dependent Child Eligibility Might Require Fast Action by Human Resources

July 7, 2014:

The Canadian Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration is revising the definition of a dependent child. This change will have negative impacts on those companies that have global assignees inbound to Canada with older dependent children.
Previously, the definition of dependent children extended to those under twenty-two (22) years of age who were not a spouse or common-law partner and to those who were older but enrolled as a full-time student or unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.

Effective 1 August 2014

  • The definition of a “dependent child” is revised to include only children less than nineteen (19) years of age who are not a spouse or common-law partner, or who are older and unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.
  • Important: The exemption for full-time students has been removed.

The new age restrictions will apply to permanent residence applications and certain temporary residence or work permit applications.

Age Lock-In Provisions

It is of some assistance that CIC has added a consistent age lock-in provision to all application processes. The new lock-in provisions ensure that children who apply as dependants will have their age locked in at the submission of the first stage of the application process for all immigration application processes, including those specific to certain provinces. It is important to note that it is only the age that can be locked in. The requirement that dependent children be neither married nor in a common-law partnership and the requirement that they be unable to be financially self-supporting cannot be locked in to the date of submission of the first stage of application; they must be satisfied at the time of the application and at the time at which permanent residence status is granted.


  • If you have global assignees with older, dependent children, corporations should start the first step of any applications prior to August 1, 2104 in order to benefit from the pre-amendment definition of a dependent child.
  • Permanent Residence Applications IMPORTANT! Corporate decisions as to whether or not to support assignees on longer term assignments or permanent transfers that are still in their work permit phase towards permanent residence tend to be made more casually without the feeling of significant time pressure. However, due to the new definition, Human Resources should immediately communicate the change within their companies in order to decide if any assignees or transferees have children aged 19 or older, and whether or not these assignees or transferees are possible targets for permanent residency. If so, permanent residence applications should be submitted as soon as possible.

All Points Relocation does not represent itself as immigration counsel. We encourage all employers to review the changes thoroughly. This Relo-lert is not intended as an exhaustive consideration of the changes. It is provided for information purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or counsel. No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of their particular situation.

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