How Your Dependent Child Can Get An Open Work Permit


career kidsRecently, an individual contacted me who was quite upset.  She and her husband and her nineteen year old son are in Alberta.  They are from a foreign country and the husband is working in Alberta on a work permit as a construction worker.

They had heard that spouses and dependent children were entitled to open work permits if one spouse is working in Canada under as a temporary foreign worker.  Dependent children normally entitled to an open work permit are between eighteen and twenty-two years of age.

In this case, the wife did not intend to work.  However, the dependent child had completed school overseas and wanted to get some Canadian work experience under his belt.

They applied for an open work permit for the nineteen year old son, and were shocked when they were rejected.

What happened?

Their primary mistake was assuming that a dependent child over eighteen is entitled to an open work in these circumstances.

The only way a dependent child can apply for and obtain an open work permit based on a parent’s work permit is through a CIC pilot project with a province.

If there is no pilot project, then there is no ability for the dependent child to obtain an open work permit.

There are currently pilot projects with British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.  I’ll summarize the requirements of each below:

British Columbia

Children (who are over eighteen but under twenty-two years of age) of high skilled temporary workers can qualify for an open work permit based on a parent’s work permit.  “High skilled” means an occupation in the National Occupation Classification A, B or O.

This pilot will run until February 14, 2014.


Alberta has the same rules as British Columbia, above.  However, this pilot project is scheduled to end on July 31, 2013.


Ontario has the same rules as British Columbia, above.  However, Ontario states that the minimum age of the child must be fourteen years old (rather than eighteen).

In addition, open work permits are available to dependent children (again, a minimum of fourteen), of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are returning to Ontario to re-establish themselves in an academic or health care career.

This is an unusual rule, but it is meant to “lure” academics and health care professionals back to Ontario, especially those who have dependents who are not Canadian citizens.  This could happen if the Canadian individual working overseas married a citizen of a foreign country who had a child from a previous relationship.

Be careful where you work in Canada!

So if you have a working age dependent child and you plan to work in Canada on a temporary basis, be very careful in choosing a province that will allow your child to obtain an open work permit – if you want that child to work while in Canada.



About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile