Age of Majority in Canada (A Quick Guide)

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You may have noticed that one of the requirements to open some bank accounts or use many financial tools and services is that you have attained the age of majority in your province.

So what does it mean in Canada and how does it affect the financial services you can access.

In this short post, you’ll learn what it is and how it varies across the provinces.

What is Age of Majority?

In simple terms, the age of majority is the age at which a person is considered to be an adult legally.

It is the age you legally cease to be a minor, become responsible for most of your actions, and require no oversight from parents or guardians.

And it has implications beyond just your finances.

Once you reach the age of majority, you’ll be able to sign legal documents, sue or be sued, vote, write a will, buy lottery tickets and get many other services that minors don’t have access to.

You can find a list of some of the things that happen when you reach the age of majority in Ontario here.

Age of Majority vs Legal Age

Legal age, or age of license, is not the same as age of majority. Legal age is when you are legally allowed to perform an activity.

That is, legal age is set for different activities and they may not be the same as the age of majority for the province.

For example, age of majority for Ontario is 18. But the legal age to buy alcohol in Ontario is 19 and you can get a driver’s license once you clock 16.

One similarity between age of majority and legal age is that they are both set at the provincial or territorial level. So the legal age for a particular activity will usually depend on your province.

Take buying alcohol as an example. The legal age is 19 for most provinces, but Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec set the age as 18.

Age of Majority by Province

Like many other things, the age you cease to be a minor varies across provinces and territories in Canada.

This would partly explain why some financial services provider don’t state a specific age in their requirements. They leave it to users to determine if they are qualified based on their provinces.

chart showing the age of majority for each province in Canada
Province/TerritoryAge of Majority
British Columbia19
New Brunswick19
Newfoundland and Labrador19
Northwest Territories19
Nova Scotia19
Prince Edward Island (PEI)18

The age of majority is 18 regardless of your province when it comes to federal laws. For example, you can vote and be eligible for military service in all provinces once you turn 18.

Like Canada, the age of majority varies across states in the United States of America.  It is 18 in most of the states. A handful of states set it at 19 with Mississippi the outlier at 21.

Final Thoughts

Hope you found this post helpful. The age of majority per province has very practical implications.

For example, once you clock 18, you’re eligible to open a TFSA and your contribution room starts accruing.

But if you live in a province where an 18 year old is still a minor, you may have to wait for a year before you can open a TFSA with some financial institutions.

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Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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