At what age can I leave home in Canada?

Home is meant to be a safe and supportive environment to come home to at the end of the day, unfortunately that is not always the case.

Life at home must be pretty tough if you find yourself thinking about moving out, especially when you are still young enough to be wondering if you can even do so. There is a lot to consider when making these kinds of important decisions. You have to really think about what it means to leave home, and determine whether or not you are in a position to be able to take care of yourself. At the end of the day, you have to make sure that you are going to be able to afford a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, and all of the other expenses that you would be responsible for!

Having thought through all of these important issues, you then need to ask yourself, is leaving home a realistic option for me?

If you are looking for answers and to help you make decisions about your situation, I recommend this website from the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta. According to their FAQ, it is not illegal to leave home before 18 or even 16. You will not be fined or punished for leaving home before a certain age. What happens will depend on the situation. You can contact the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate Alberta to discuss your situation, ask questions and possibly be connected with an advocate or lawyer. Learn more.

Another resource that could be helpful to people considering leaving home is the Community Resource Team (CRT) from Wood’s Homes. They work directly with families to overcome parent/child conflict which may be why you’re interested in moving out. Their services include counselling over the phone as well as through text and live chat, and visits to homes, schools and hospitals. Information about this program is available on their website.

Making the decision to leave home can understandably be extremely difficult and emotional.

Working through these important decisions can be a real challenge! Keep in mind that if you are feeling like you just need someone to talk things through with, you can always contact ConnecTeen! Peer support is available to from 3-10 pm Monday to Friday, and from 12:00pm -10:00 pm on weekends by text, chat and phone.