Scenario: Isabella’s Story

I am a 16-year-old girl named Isabella. I currently live with my parents and my 3 siblings. I used to have a really strong relationship with my parents, however recently my parents and I have not been getting along.  They constantly argue and disagree with my academic choices, my friends and lifestyle choices. They keep invading my privacy and enforcing rules that I cannot live by. I feel like I’m old enough to make my own decisions and I feel very limited by my parents rules. I have a boyfriend that I love very much but, my parents do not approve of him. My boyfriend and I work and attend school and we feel as though we are able to support ourselves financially. For that reason, I really want to be move out from my parents’s home. 

How can I do this? Am I eligible for Emancipation?
We do not have laws on “Emancipation” in Ontario. In some U.S. states, there are emancipation laws which let someone 16 years and older apply to a court, to be free from the custody and control of their parents or guardians. However, there are no such laws in Ontario.
When can I decide where I want to live?
In Ontario, at 16 years of age or older, you can generally decide where you want to live and you do not need a legal guardian. You can live with someone else against the wish of your legal guardian.
If you do choose to move in with your boyfriend, is it not against any laws of Ontario and you do not need permission from your parents.
Do my parents have to support me?
Your parents do not have to support you if you are 16 years or older and have left home of your own free will.
However, If you are 16 years or older and you were forced to leave home, your parents may still have to support you. For example, you are entitled to support if you left home because you were kicked out without a very good reason, or if you were abused, or if your living situation at home is unsafe, unbearable or impossible.
What can I take when I leave home?
You have a right to take all of your personal property with you whether you bought it yourself or it was given to you as a gift. This includes all of your identification such as health cards, birth certificates, and passport. These documents are very important and you and should take them with you. If your parents are refusing to let you take your own property you can contact the police or a lawyer for help. Sometimes a family member or friend can help pick up your property for you.

There is A LOT to think about when deciding, whether to leave home, such as how you will support yourself financially, where you will live, and where you will go to school.

For more information on Leaving Home, consult our pamphlet on Leaving Home, as well as our YouTube video on Leaving home
Kids Help Phone –
416-973-4444 / 1-800-668-6868 (outside Toronto).
Children’s Aid Society – 416-987-7725 in Toronto
To locate your local CAS, visit the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society’s website at
Information about community, government, social and health issues
Dial “211” from inside the Toronto area, or visit
Outside GTA, check the local Blue Book or visit
Justice for Children and Youth:
415 Yonge Street, Suite 1203
GTA (416) 920 – 1633

The scenario for this post was written by Deqa Abdi, a JFCY volunteer on the PLE Team.  The legal info was written by Lauren Grossman, a first-year law student at U of T who is volunteering at JFCY through her law school’s Pro Bono Students Canada program. All info was reviewed by a JFCY staff lawyer. The comic was by Adrianna Pahuta.