What is the Age of Majority in Ontario, and what does this mean for me?

Do you know what the Age of Majority is and how it affects you as a newcomer youth in Ontario? Let's break it down.

The Age of Majority is when you're officially considered an adult in the eyes of the law. In Ontario, this happens when you turn 18. It's essential to know because reaching this age opens up new rights and opportunities for you.

Here's what happens when you reach the Age of Majority in Ontario:

  • Voting: You can participate in municipal, federal and provincial elections and have a say in how things run in your community. Learn more about the different levels of government in Canada.
  • Minimum Wage: You're entitled to receive the full minimum wage for your work.
  • Withdrawing from school: If your birthday falls between January 1st and the end of August, you can leave school on your 18th birthday if you choose to.
  • Children's Aid Society: You're no longer under the care of the Children's Aid Society unless you're in extended care or have a Voluntary Youth Service Agreement.
  • Parental Custody: Your parents no longer have legal custody over you and are not required to support you financially anymore unless you have a disability or are going to post-secondary school. 
  • Social Assistance: You can access financial assistance programs if needed.
  • Legal Rights: You can be charged as an adult for crimes, sign contracts, sue or be sued, change your name, and get married without parental consent.
  • Travel: You can travel within Canada or abroad without your parents’ permission.
  • Entertainment: You can watch restricted movies and buy lottery tickets.

What will my responsibilities be when I reach the Age of Majority?

Along with new-found rights come responsibilities. As an adult, you're expected to make decisions independently and be accountable for your actions. It's essential to understand the consequences of your choices and strive to make informed decisions.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Education and Career: While you can leave school at 18, it's crucial to consider the impact on your future opportunities. Continuing your education or pursuing vocational training can open doors to better career prospects and earning potential.
  • Financial Literacy: With increased independence comes the need for financial literacy. Learn about budgeting, saving, and managing money wisely to ensure financial stability and avoid debt.
  • Healthcare: As an adult, you are responsible for managing your healthcare needs. This includes understanding how to access healthcare services, such as registering for a family doctor, knowing your healthcare coverage options, and making decisions about your health and wellness.
  • Legal Rights and Protections: While you gain new legal rights at the Age of Majority, you must be aware of your rights and seek help if you face legal issues or discrimination. Familiarize yourself with resources and organizations that offer legal assistance. 
  • Community Engagement: As an adult, you can actively participate in your community and contribute to positive change. Get involved in community organizations, volunteer opportunities, or advocacy groups that align with your interests and values.

What is the legal age? 

Understanding the difference between the Age of Majority and the legal age for specific activities is important. For example, in Ontario, you can get a driver's license at 16, but you must be 19 to buy alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis.