Leaving Home will be a series of blog posts providing information to youth who have questions about their rights and responsibilities about leaving home. These blog posts offer general information only. For particular issues specific to a personal situation, contact JFCY to speak to a lawyer.

Today’s blog peice answers some questions about what happens after you have decided to leave home.

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.

Can I go to school if I am not living at home?
Yes. The law requires you to attend school until you are 18 years old or have graduated from high school. If you are 16 years old and have withdrawn from parental control then you can attend school in the school board district where you live and you will have all the same rights as an 18 year old. If you are 16 years or older, and living on your own, you do not need a legal guardian to register for school.

The school will need proof of your new address and you may have to show some proof that you have withdrawn from parental control. For example, they may ask how you are supporting yourself. You should call Justice for Children and Youth if the school is refusing to enroll you.

Can I get a job when I leave home?
Yes, you may work and keep your own wages. However, you are required to be in school if you are less than 18 years old and have not graduated from high school. There are laws that limit the places and times of day that you can work. For example, you cannot work during school hours. Minimum wages can differ, depending on where you work, and whether it is full-time or part-time or summer work.

For questions about your employment rights you can:

  • call the Employment Standards Information Centre of the Ministry of Labour at 416-326-7160 or 1-800-531-5551, or
  • visit their website at http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/

Can I rent my own apartment?
Yes. It is against the law for a landlord to refuse to rent an apartment to you because you are 16 or 17 years old. It is also against the law to refuse to rent to you because you are on social assistance provided by Ontario Works (OW). If you are on OW, your worker will have the right to approve where you live. To find out more about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, contact:

  • your local community legal clinic,
  • the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario at 1-866-245-4182 (website: www.acto.ca), or
  • Justice for Children and Youth.

For more information on Leaving Home, consult our Legal Information Pamphlets section or click on the below link:

Leaving Home


Kids Help Phonehttp://www.kidshelpphone.ca/
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 www.oacas.org

Information about community, government, social and health issues
Dial “211” from inside the Toronto area, or visit http://www.211toronto.ca/
Outside GTA, check the local Blue Book or visit http://www.211ontario.ca/

Justice for Children and Youth:

415 Yonge Street, Suite 1203
GTA (416) 920 – 1633

Legal Aid Ontario – www.lao.on.ca
416-598-0200 / 1-800-668-8258

Lawyer Referral Service – 416-947-3330 / 1-800-268-8326
Referrals to lawyers; 30 min free advice.