Procedure: Processing de facto dependants and consanguineous minors and the Guardianship Protocol

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

This Protocol is aimed at preventing resettled refugee children from becoming victims of abuse and exploitation once in Canada. It addresses the importance of being part of a bona fide familial relationship and is intended to mitigate circumstances that give rise to family breakdown and exploitation. It is also intended to ensure that refugee minors are brought into, or are part of a bona fide familial relationship that can provide the necessary safety and protection of the minor until the minor reaches the age of majority in the province in which they reside.

The adult in a de facto or a consanguineous situation will be informed of the importance of securing legal guardianship in order to ensure the care and protection of the minor until they reach the age of majority in the province in which they reside.

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Travel policy

Separated minors and minors accepted under the OYW provision, under the age of 10, are required to be in the care of a responsible adult in order to travel to Canada.

In cases where minors under the age of 10 are travelling together with older minor siblings, the care of an adult is still required. There may be exceptions to this policy, determined on a case-by-case basis, to allow minors under the age of 10 to travel with an older sibling, who is 17 for example.

Before finalizing the selection process, family members or relatives in Canada shall be made aware of this policy and where necessary, will sign an Immigration Loan/Contribution IMM 0500E to cover all costs associated with the minor’s travel to Canada.

The family member or relative in Canada also has the option of paying for an IOM escort to bring the minor from the point of origin to the final destination. The cost of arranging this escort will include a return ticket, meals and any other expenses including overnight accommodation where necessary, for the IOM representative. The family member or relative should be aware that this is the most expensive alternative. Full details on, Making Travel Arrangements.


Cases involving separated minors without a de facto family or blood relative in Canada are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

In most cases where the minor (under the age of 18) has another parent who is not migrating to Canada, the parent/guardian applying from Canada must submit a signed copy of form IMM5604 (Declaration From Non-Accompanying Parent/Guardian For Minors Immigrating to Canada). There will be situations, however, where having this form signed from the other parent will not be practical (i.e. parent’s whereabouts unknown or parent is the agent of persecution).

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