The age of majority is a legal term that refers to the age at which a person is considered to have reached adulthood and is therefore granted certain rights and responsibilities under the law.
When you go to some financial institutions to open an account or use some financial tools and services, you will notice that there is a requirement that you must have attained the age of majority in your province. This is because the age of majority shows that you are legally eligible for that activity.
So what is the age of majority in Canada? Is the age of majority different across provinces? How does it affect you in your province? How does it affect the provincial services you can access? These are the questions I will be talking about in this article.
Let’s get right into the age of majority in Canada and how it differs from the “legal age”.
What is The Age of Majority in Canada?
The age of majority is the age you legally cease to be a minor and are legally considered to be an adult.
When you reach the age of majority, you become responsible for most of your actions and require no oversight from your parents or guardians. You are eligible to vote and have access to rights, services, and financial tools. The age of majority also allows you to enter contracts independently, make a will, buy lottery tickets, etc.
When it comes to federal laws or anything related to the federally-regulated sector, the age of majority in Canada is 18. Irrespective of your province or territory of residence, as long as you are 18, you can vote and be eligible for military service in all provinces.
However, for other matters in Canada, the age of majority is different in all the provinces of Canada since each province and territory can set its standards according to its provincial laws.
Therefore, just like many other things like statutory holidays and minimum wage, the age of majority varies across provinces and territories.
The following table displays the age of majority in Canada by province.
Province Age of Majority Alberta 18 British Columbia 19 Manitoba 18 New Brunswick 19 Newfoundland and Labrador 19 North West Territories 19 Nova Scotia 19 Nunavut 19 Ontario 18 Prince Edward Island 18 Quebec 18 Saskatchewan 18 Yukon Territories 19
Age of Majority
Newfoundland and Labrador
North West Territories
Prince Edward Island
What Happens When You Reach The Age of Majority?
When you reach the age of majority, several things happen:
- Your parents no longer have custody of you.
- You can vote
- You can get a full minimum wage.
- You can quit school.
- Unless you are in extended care, you are no longer under the supervision of the Children’s Aid Society.
- You can access social assistance.
- You can get married.
- You can see a restricted movie.
- You can sue, or be sued, and sign legal contracts
- You can buy a lottery ticket.
- You can change your name.
Is The Age of Majority Same as The Legal Age?
There is a difference between legal age (age of license) and age of majority. The legal age is when you are fully allowed to perform an activity legally. It is independent of the age of majority.
Just like the age of majority, the legal age is also set at the provincial or territorial level. The legal age for different activities will depend on the province you reside.
For example, while the legal age for getting a driver’s license in Ontario is 16, you must be 19 before you can buy alcohol in Ontario.
In Canada, there are different legal ages for various activities. The minimum legal age for one activity may differ from the minimum legal age for other activities.
The minimum legal age to drive in Canada is 16 years, while the minimum legal age to drink alcohol in Canada is 19. The minimum legal age to have consensual sex (age of consent) is 16 years, and the absolute minimum age to marry, however, with parental permission and consent, is 16 years.
Further, most Canadian provinces and territories do not set an age limit for leaving children unsupervised. Still, the minimum legal age to leave a child unsupervised in Manitoba and New Brunswick is 12 years.
Age of Majority and Child Support
While it is mandatory to pay child support for children under the age of majority, it is not so for children above the age of majority.
Some conditions are attached to the payment of child support for children above the age of majority.
A child over the age of majority can receive child support if the child is under the parents’ charge and unable to withdraw from their charge due to illness, disability, or other causes, to obtain the necessities of life.
Aside from the case of disability or illness, it is often a case of the child attending post-secondary schooling.
What Happens When Your Dependent Reaches the Age of Majority?
Suppose you have a dependent, a child who you are legally responsible for as a guardian or a parent, and they reach the age of majority. In that case, you are no longer under any legal obligations to provide and care for them financially.
This also binds if they have left your home before the age of 18 or if they have gotten married.
However, the child is regarded as your dependent even when they reach the age of majority if they have a disability or are pursuing a post-secondary degree in school.
Further, when your child or dependent reaches the age of majority, you can leverage their age for tax-planning strategies for your household.
You can arrange your financial affairs so that investment income is taxed in your children’s hands. This is called income splitting.
All you have to do is loan your child some money at a specified interest rate such that your child then invests the money in his name.
Since your child is very young and probably earning zero or low income, his investments can grow at an astronomical rate while he pays next to nothing in taxes and interest.
Further, if you have an incorporated business, you can make your children shareholders. They will receive dividends from the company and pay income tax at a lower rate.
Another lucrative tax-saving strategy is to hire your child to actually do some work in your family business, thereby putting a low-income child on the payroll of the family business and writing off the salary.
How to Prepare My Dependent for the Age of Majority
While it is every parent’s dream to watch their child grow into the age of majority, we might still find it challenging to relinquish our parental duties at that stage.
We love them and are concerned about their future. Yet, we should step back and watch them make decisions for themselves while we groom them for the future.
As parents, we want our kids to have all the skills they need to succeed as adults. Here are some tips to help you prepare your dependents for life as an adult.
1. Teach Them Basic Personal Finance
When your dependent reaches the age of majority, they gain the right to take over their affairs, including their money. They take charge of financial decisions in their lives, whether large or small.
However, are they prepared to make financial decisions for themselves? Do they have the money skills and basic financial understanding to make the necessary decisions?
Start teaching them early if you want them prepared to face their financial decisions and always make the right choices.
Talk to them about having a bank account, either savings or a checking account; make them understand basic money skills, like paying bills, making money transactions, and using a credit or debit card.
Teach them about keeping financial and money records, keeping track of income to prevent overdrafts, and making and keeping a budget that balances their expenses with their income.
2. Teach Them Good Habits, Impulse Control, and Decision-Making Early
As parents, we must help our children prepare for the age of majority. We need to help them become comfortable making their own decisions and capable of making good choices.
Help your children develop decision-making skills by making them practice decision-making skills within the family.
Include your children in purchase decisions, discuss essential family matters with them, and practice real-life examples of decision-making with your child.
Please help your child develop good habits and good working relationships with other people to avoid disruptions when they reach the age of majority.
Do not pressure your child into making decisions they cannot handle, and try to stay involved in all the affairs that concern your children.
3. Buy Them Helpful Books
Some books and resources from great authors can help your child prepare for the age of majority.
Information necessary for preparing for adulthood may not be at your disposal, but some good books can give your child all the necessary knowledge. Look around for such books that can be helpful, and buy for them.
4. Prepare Them For The Real World: Don’t Be Too Protective
Try not to be overprotective while preparing your children for the age of majority. Children need space and time for themselves. Do not interfere in their personal affairs when it is not necessary.
Overprotective parenting can lead to oversensitive adults. It will reinforce anxiety in your children. When you fear many things as a parent and begin to overprotect your child, the child also becomes overly scared.
Allow your children the freedom to explore different things. Don’t be afraid that they will fail; there’s no harm in failing for children.
Final Thoughts on Age of Majority in Canada
The age of majority in Canada is an important legal threshold that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. It grants you access to certain rights and responsibilities, such as voting, entering into contracts, and making legal decisions on your behalf.
It would be best if you were acquainted with the age of majority in your province because it has many legal implications.
In some provinces, once you are 18, you can open a TFSA account and accrue your contributions. However, you might have to wait an extra year in other provinces considering 18 a minor, before opening a TFSA.
I do hope you have found this article helpful.
FAQs on Age of Majority in Canada
Is 18 years old still a minor in Canada?
Yes. Anyone under 18 in Canada is considered a minor child. The age of majority is 18 in Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
Can you move out at 17?
It is not legal to move out of your parent’s home at 17 without becoming emancipated, even when you have the means to move out. At 17, your parents or guardians are still responsible for you.
They still have to pay your expenses and provide you with accommodation.
What is the age of majority in Ontario?
The age of majority in Ontario is 18. At 18, you can vote, sign contracts, sue and be sued, etc.
What is the age of majority in BC?
The age of majority in British Columbia is 19. At this age, you legally become an adult and can vote in an election.
What is the age of majority in Quebec?
The age of majority in Quebec is 18.
What is the age of majority in Newfoundland and Labrador
The age of majority in Newfoundland and Labrador is 19.