Caring for a minor child in Canada
Each province and territory decides the age when a person becomes an adult. This is known as the age of majority. A person under the age of majority is a “minor child”.
|Province or territory||Age of majority|
|Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan||18|
|British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Yukon||19|
The parents or legal guardians must prove the minor child will have the care and support they need during their stay in Canada. Minor children under the age of 17 must either:
- come with their parent or legal guardian or
- have a custodian in Canada
Custodian and Legal Guardian
A legal guardian has the legal authority (and the corresponding duty) to care for the personal interests of the individual. Nevertheless, the relationship between the parents and the individual may remain.
The term “custodianship” is more appropriate for the purposes of a study permit application than the legal term “guardianship”, as guardianship involves an individual being legally appointed to manage the affairs of an individual as opposed to being deemed to have custody of the student.
Mandatory custodianship requirement (under 17 years of age)
If an applicant is less than 17 years of age at the time of application, a custodian in Canada will continue to be required. The applicant must submit a notarized declaration signed by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) in the country of origin, as well as one signed by the custodian in Canada, stating that arrangements have been made for the custodian to act in place of a parent.
Officers must be satisfied that adequate arrangements are in place for the care and support of the minor student. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s), and the appointed custodian must acknowledge that the custodian will reside within a reasonable distance to the minor applicant’s intended residence and school. The custodianship declaration should include the information and signature of both parents, where applicable.
Discretionary custodianship requirement (17 to 18 or 19 years of age)
Applications from minors between 17 years of age and the applicable provincial or territorial age of majority at the time of application should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In assessing whether the custodianship requirement should be applied, officers may exercise discretion in requesting additional documentation or an interview. Officers should be satisfied with respect to whether an applicant can provide care and support to themselves while in Canada.
A homestay provides an opportunity to stay with a local family for a fee. It’s an affordable accommodation alternative, ideal for international students living abroad, where students live and eat with local families, learn authentic English, enjoy their own independent space, experience the local customs and culture, and receive care from host family. Host family can help students find their feet in the new place.
The homestay host and the custodian are not the same concept, and they are often not the same person.
The homestay fee usually includes rent, utilities and three meals a day. (Some families only provide two meals). In Canada, homestay fee vary slightly from province to province. In the greater Vancouver area in British Columbia, the fee is around CAD 900 per month, while in Victoria, the fee is relatively cheap, ranging from CAD 800 to CAD 850 per month. In the Greater Toronto in Ontario, the fee is around CAD 1,000 a month, compared with around CAD 900 in nearby cities such as Ottawa and Hamilton. In Quebec, the fee can cost as much as CAD 1,000 a month. In Alberta, the fee is around CAD 900 . The relatively remote provinces such as Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the fees are lower at around CAD 750 a month.