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Are you a teenager looking to Study in Canada?

If you are a teenager looking to study in Canada you may need what is called in Canada a "custodian".

In Canada "the Age of Majority" is when an individual is considered an adult.

Before that age we are considered “Minors” and this can have legal meaning in many situations including with police or in a hospital, or even if attending a university or college or other educational institution.

The Canadian government does not determine the Age of Majority. This is decided by the government of each Canadian Province (there are ten) or Territory (there are 3).

In Canada, the age of majority is 18 years old in Alberta, Saskatchewan,Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

The age of majority is 19 years old in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and all 3 territories: the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon.

What is a custodian?

A custodian is an adult appointed who physically lives near to the intended area where the student will be living and can be counted upon as a resource if the minor student requires any type of support. It does not mean the custodian is a "legal guardian" which would be a separate process. So the custodian does not have legal

control over the minor student but is available for support.

When do you need a legal custodian?

According to the rules currently in effect:

If an applicant is less than 17 years of age at the time of application, a custodian in Canada will continue to be required. If an applicant is 17 years old at the time of application but at the age of majority in the province or territory where she will stay, then a visa officer might require proof that there is a legal custodian. This is analyzed according to each case evaluating these factors: Level of study – the applicant’s intended level of academic study (those attending secondary school (high school) should normally require a custodian) Level of independence – the applicant’s current or past living arrangements and whether previous studies were completed away from their principal residence Financial capacity – the applicant’s financial self-sufficiency outside of parent(s) or guardian(s) (e.g., scholarship, government sponsorship) Travel experience – the applicant’s previous travel history, participation in international exchange programs, etc. Accessibility of the parent(s) or guardian(s) – the location of the applicant’s parent(s) or guardian(s) and their accessibility for institutions and medical centres to contact them in case of emergency situations

Informal arrangements – whether arrangements (less formal than custodianship) have been made to provide support and care for the minor student Risk environment – the applicant’s safety and well-being in relation to risk indicators for irregular child migration and the potential for exploitation or trafficking

A custodianship declaration is not required when the minor child is accompanied by at least one parent.

If proof of a legal custodian is required how can you provide that information? 1. 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. 2. Canadian immigration officiials must be satisfied that adequate arrangements are in place for the care and support of the minor student. 3. 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. As noted above, this is required if the student is under 17 years of age and if this information is not provided for those 17 years old but still “minors’ then this or other information might be later required if a Canadian visa officer determines that this is necessary based on the factors indicated above. Custodian Form

Canada also provides a very helpful form if intending to have a custodian appointed.

The form is available at this link and may not be compatible with all versions and combinations of internet browsers on apple computers.

Comments or questions may be sent to


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