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


A regulatory amendment to raise the age limit for dependent children from under 19 to under 22 was published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on May 3, 2017, and came into force on October 24, 2017. The higher age limit applies to applications received on or after October 24, 2017. For applicants whose permanent residence application was received between August 1, 2014 and October 23, 2017, the under 19 definition of a dependent child continues to apply.

Following the coming into force of the regulatory amendment, the Department anticipates that there could be a considerable number of requests to add or process a child aged 19 to 21 on a pending application based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations. The assessment of requests for humanitarian and compassionate consideration is discretionary, complex and resource intensive. A significant number of such requests following the coming into force of the regulatory amendment would represent a considerable increase in workload and could result in a delay in the processing of applications in all lines of business.

Public Policy Considerations

Given the potential number of requests for humanitarian and compassionate consideration that the Department could receive to add or process older children on pending applications, and in the interests of facilitating family reunification, a public policy is being established. This public policy, that enables the processing of children aged 19 to 21 as dependants, would allow eligible applicants to benefit from the higher age limit with less impact on processing.

As such, I hereby establish that there are sufficient public policy considerations justifying granting exemptions, pursuant to section 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act from the requirements in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“the Regulations”) listed below when foreign nationals meet the eligibility criteria and conditions set out below.

Eligibility Criteria and Conditions

Based on public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant an exemption from the provisions of the Regulations listed below to foreign nationals who meet the following eligibility criteria and conditions:

A permanent residence application for a child can be made if the:

  1. Child was 19, 20, or 21 as of May 3, 2017 (the date of final publication of the regulatory amendment) or as of date the parent’s permanent residence application was made, if received on or after May 3, 2017 and before October 24, 2017;
  2. Parent or child had a permanent residence application that was either pending on May 3, 2017 or was received on or after May 3, 2017 and before October 24, 2017 (the child must have been previously identified as “additional family” on their parent’s application);
  3. Child is not a spouse/common-law partner; and,
  4. Child is not otherwise inadmissible.

The child can be:

  1. Processed or added to an application (as a dependent child) if the permanent resident visa or Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) had not been issued at the time the Department was notified of the intention to add the child; OR
  2. Sponsored as a member of the Family Class once the parent is granted permanent residence.

    Note: Refugees and protected persons may add a child who was 19, 20, or 21 on May 3, 2017 and (not a spouse/common-law partner) as an accompanying or non-accompanying dependant on a pending application; non-accompanying dependants would be able to apply for permanent residence within the one-year window.

    An application to sponsor a child who is eligible under this public and is 22 or over at time of sponsorship, must be received by the Department within one year after their parent is granted permanent residence. Children who are under 22 at time of sponsorship will be processed under the regular sponsorship regulations.

Notification Period: Parents who wish to apply for their child to come to Canada must notify the Department of their intention to do so by January 31, 2018, in accordance with instructions provided by the department.

Fees: Where applicable, the standard fees for processing an accompanying or sponsored dependent child must be paid.

Pending applications: For the purposes of this public policy, an application is considered to be pending up until the applicant’s departure for Canada if they are outside Canada OR until permanent residence has been granted if the applicant is in Canada.

Applicants wishing to settle in Quebec cannot be granted permanent residence unless Quebec determines that they meet the applicable requirements of the province.

Provisions of the Regulations for which exemptions may be granted:

  • The definition of a “dependent child” as it read prior to October 24, 2017; and,
  • Where applicable, Regulation 307, in relation to fees for an examination of circumstances under Section 25.2 of the Act.

Start and End dates

This public policy comes into effect on October 24, 2017 and ends once processing of all applications submitted under this public policy is complete.

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen
Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Dated at Ottawa, this 19 day of October 2017

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