Understanding the Age of Majority in Ontario

In Ontario, the age of majority is eighteen years old.

The age of majority indicates how old you need to be in a given country or province to be legally considered an adult.

Keep in mind that the age of majority and the legal age are two different things.

The main distinction is that the legal age is the minimum age required to do a certain thing, whereas the age of majority is the age where children or dependents gain financial and legal independence from a parent or guardian.

You might be considered an adult at 18 years old, but the legal age to start driving is 16 years old, and the legal age to buy alcohol or cannabis in Ontario is 19 years old.

So, what does it mean to legally be an “adult”? What changes once you hit the age of majority? A few things.

What Changes Once You Reach the Age of Majority

For starters, you can now vote, and you can now enroll in military service.

You’re also allowed to sign legal documents, sue, be sued, change your name, buy a lottery ticket, and get married.

Your parents no longer have legal authority over you, nor are they financially responsible for you, and you can now apply for social assistance programs like Ontario Works and ODSP.

Teenager who just hit age of majority in Ontario

In terms of your finances, you can finally open a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) once you turn 18 years old, and can begin to accrue contribution room at 18 years old.

This means you can start to set aside money (up to your contribution limit) and mitigate taxes on capital gains or investment income.

Fun Fact

The age of majority typically ranges from 18 – 19. For instance, it is 18 in provinces such as Ontario and Manitoba. In contrast, the age of majority is 19 in many of the territories as well as provinces such as British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

What Parents Should Keep in Mind

As a parent, there are a few things you should keep in mind as your child reaches the age of majority.

If your child or dependent just turned 18, you may no longer be required to financially care for them, nor do you have to sign legal documents on their behalf.

That said, if your child or dependent either has a disability or is in school full-time, such as in a full-time undergraduate program, you may still have legal and/or financial obligations.

In terms of child support, you might not need to pay it past the age of majority unless it was part of your agreement, or if the child or dependent either has a disability or is in school full-time.

What Happens to Child Benefit Payments?

Once you turn 18 years old in Ontario, your child benefit payments will stop.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When did the age of majority change in Ontario?
  • At what age are parents no longer financially responsible?

Tara Al-Khudairi is a freelance personal finance writer who has worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.