Modification of the statutory definition of "dependent child"
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Modification of the statutory definition of "dependent child"

The Government of Canada, responsible for defining the immigration classes, modified the definition of “dependent child” in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. In order to harmonize its regulation with that of the federal government, Québec adopted the same definition. This modification enters into effect on August 1, 2014.

Henceforth, a dependent child shall be considered:

  • a child who is less than 19 years of age and not a spouse or de facto spouse;
  • a child who is 19 years of age or older and has, since the age of 19, been unable to meet their needs and is dependent on the financial support of their parents due to a physical or mental condition.


Consequently, children who are studying full time, and are 19 years of age or older, can no longer, since August 1, 2014, be considered dependent children. For information on programs offered to this group, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

Please also note that the new definition has effects on the duration of sponsorship of dependent children 13 years of age or older.

Transitional provision for applications submitted before August 1, 2014

Applications for a Certificat de sélection du Québec or undertaking that were submitted to the Ministère before August 1, 2014 will be reviewed based on the definition of “dependent child” in effect prior to the modification. The date of receipt of the application, stamped by our services, shall serve as proof. This provision pertains to the following applications:

  • Applications under the economic immigration class (skilled workers and businesspeople)
  • Applications submitted abroad by foreign nationals who are in a particularly distressful situation, with the exception of refugees
  • Undertaking applications for collective sponsorship


Citizenship and Immigration Canada will determine if the child can be considered a dependent child for applications submitted under one of the following classes:

  • Family class
  • Refugees recognized in Canada and the members of their family abroad, and government-assisted refugees
  • Foreign nationals whose application for permanent residence is being processed in Canada
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Last modification : 2016-03-11
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