What is the change? Canada will soon implement a rule broadening the definition of “dependent child” to cover anyone under the age of 22.

What does the change mean? The change will take effect Tuesday and marks a change from current rules, under which dependent status is only available to children under the age of 19. The new rule will allow foreign nationals to sponsor children under 22 (i.e., 21 or younger) on visas or for permanent residency.

  • Implementation time frame: Oct. 24.
  • Visas/permits affected: Any visa or permit for dependent children.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals seeking to sponsor children under 22 years of age.
  • Business impact: The change will make family reunification easier for foreign employees with older children.

Background: Government officials announced a proposal last fall to revert to the pre-2014 definition of dependent child as “under 22” years of age. Authorities published regulations in May to implement the change on Oct. 24. Children who are 22 years of age or older who rely on their parents because of a physical or mental health condition will continue to be eligible for dependent status.

BAL Analysis: The reversion to the earlier and broader definition of “dependent child” will encourage family reunification and is a positive change for foreign employees seeking to sponsor children under the age of 22.