Canada to raise age for dependants allowed into country

May 4, 2017

By Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press |

University-age children of immigrants will soon be allowed to join their parents in Canada. The federal government said Thursday it is raising the allowable age for dependants to those under 22 from those under 19.

The new age limit takes effect Oct. 24, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced Wednesday. The increased age will apply to new applications for all immigration programs, including for refugees. Increasing the maximum age of a dependant child will allow more families to stay together, the department said, and “showcases the government’s commitment to family reunification.”

The announcement was no surprise, said refugee advocate Tom Denton. For decades, he has watched different governments open and close Canada’s immigration gates. Raising the age of allowable dependents reverses a 2014 decision by the Conservative government under Stephen Harper that lowered the age of allowable dependants to those under 19.

“It simply reflects a return to the policy of many years and through many wiser governments of the past,” said Denton, executive director of Hospitality House Refugee Ministry. “The Harper government had a strong elitist streak that showed also in its approach to making citizenship harder to get. But then and now, we know that immigration is necessary for demographic reasons,” he said, citing the latest Statistics Canada numbers that show Canada now more seniors than children. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government could do more if it wants Canada to thrive, Denton said.

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