Co-authored by Melanie Goldsworthy, Immigration
On August 1, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
("CIC") released Operational Bulletin 588, which provides
operational guidance to CIC and Canada Border Services Agency on
the amended definition of "dependent child" under section
2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
("IRPR"). The new definition applies across all CIC lines
of business, including temporary residence, effective immediately.
Below is a summary of the highlights of the Operational
The amendment narrows the previous definition of dependent child
by reducing the basic age limit for a dependent child from under 22
to under 19 years and eliminating the eligibility for older
children to be considered dependents on the basis that they are
students. CIC also removed the provision for a child who is married
or in a common-law relationship to be considered a dependent at any
age. Children with a physical or mental condition that prevents
them from being able to financially support themselves will
continue to be considered as dependents.
Effect on Permanent Residence Applications
All new permanent residence applications not yet submitted must
meet the new definition. The transitional provision permits
applicants who have already applied for permanent residence prior
to August 1, 2014 to be assessed using the pre-amendment
definition. Permanent residence application processes can generally
be divided into single-step or multiple-step processes depending on
the specific program or category.
Single-step processes involve the submission of an application
for permanent residence, accompanied by a sponsorship application,
where applicable. For these cases, applications received by CIC
prior to August 1, 2014 will be assessed using the pre-amendment
definition of "dependent child". The provision also
permits applicants of a multiple-step immigration program, such as
the Provincial Nominee Program, to be assessed using the
pre-amendment definition, provided the preliminary processes were
initiated prior to August 1, 2014, and even if the complete
application for permanent residence is received by CIC on or after
August 1, 2014.
Foreign nationals seeking to apply for Canadian permanent
residence with an accompanying child nearing 19 years of age are
encouraged to submit their applications before their child's
19th birthday. Once the accompanying child reaches 19 years of age,
he or she will need to meet permanent residence program
requirements independently, unless the new definition can be met
because he or she is dependent due to a mental or physical
New lock-in provisions will apply to all applications for
permanent residence received by CIC on or after August 1, 2014,
except for those applications which will benefit from any of the
transitional provisions. Applications that benefit from a
transitional provision will be subject to the lock-in procedures
that existed prior to these amendments.
Under the new lock-in provisions, the age of a dependent child
will be locked in at the first formal stage of the application
process under which the principal applicant is applying. For
single-step processes, the age lock-in date is the date that CIC
receives a complete application for permanent residence from the
principal applicant. Age lock-in dates for multiple-step processes
will vary according to the program or category. Under the
Provincial Nominee Program, for example, the following applies:
For applications received before August 1, 2014 (transitional
provision applies), the age lock-in date is the date on which CIC
receives the complete application for permanent residence from the
principal applicant; and
For applications received on or after August 1, 2014, the age
lock-in date is the date on which the applicable provincial or
territorial authority receives a complete application for
provincial nomination from the principal applicant.
Effect on Temporary Residence Applications, Including Work
The new definition for "dependent child" will apply
immediately to all applications for temporary residence, such as
applications for a Work Permit, to determine whether an
accompanying child is a dependent. Any applications received by CIC
before August 1, 2014, but processed on or after that date, will be
determined using the pre-amendment definition of "dependent
child". If children do not qualify to be processed as a
dependent of a principal applicant, CIC will determine whether
children 19 years of age or over are eligible for temporary
resident status because they meet applicable requirements
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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