Economics of reuniting families

Delivering on one of the party’s campaign promises, the Liberals opened up the number of spots under family reunification to 80,000 — 12,000 more than last year, with a focus on spouses and common-law partners. Beyond the numbers, McCallum stressed reducing the backlog and processing times as a primary focus.

“We know the value of keeping families together,” McCallum said. “There is a social value to this as well as an economic value that benefits all society.”

Family Class Sponsorship

If you are a citizen or permanent resident of Canada and at least 18 years old, you can sponsor certain relatives to come to Canada. Your relatives can live, study and work in Canada if they become permanent residents.  If you sponsor a family member to immigrate to Canada, you must provide proof that you can:

  • meet basic needs—such as food, clothing and shelter—for yourself and your family,
  • support your relative financially and
  • make sure your spouse or relative does not need to ask for financial help from the government.

This is a useful program for those people who cannot qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker or the Canadian Experience Class.

Types of Family Sponsorship

Spousal Sponsorship

Depending on where your Spouse lives there are two types of applications: inland and outland.

The processing time for outland type is faster.  If your spouses are waiting for the decision inland they must have legal status in Canada and they are eligible for an Open work permit until the final decision is taken.


  • You are a common-law partner—either of the opposite sex or the same sex—if:
  • you have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year in an ongoing 12-month period (you are allowed short absences for business travel or family reasons).

You will need proof that you and your common-law partner have combined your affairs and set up a household together. This can be in the form of proof of

  • joint bank accounts or credit cards.
  • joint ownership of a home.
  • joint residential leases.
  • joint rental receipts,
  • joint registration or payment of utilities (electricity, gas, telephone),
  • joint management of household expenses,
  • joint purchases, especially of household items, or
  • mail addressed to either person or both people at the same address.

Conjugal Partner

This category is for partners—either of the opposite sex or same sex—in situations beyond their control that keep them from living together so they would count as common-law partners or spouses.

A conjugal relationship is more than a physical relationship. It means you depend on each other, there is some permanence to the relationship, and there is the same level of commitment as a marriage or a common-law partnership.

You may apply as a conjugal partner if

  • you have had a conjugal relationship with your sponsor for at least one year and you could not live together or marry because of
  • an immigration barrier,
  • your marital status (for example, you are married to someone else and living in a country where divorce is not possible) or
  • your sexual orientation (for example, you are in a same-sex relationship and same-sex marriage is not permitted where you live) and
  • you can prove there was a reason you could not live together (for example, you were refused long-term stays in each other’s country).

You should not apply as a conjugal partner if

  • you could have lived together but chose not to, as this shows that you did not have the level of commitment needed for a conjugal relationship (for example, one of you may not have wanted to give up a job or a course of study, or your relationship was not yet at the point where you were ready to live together),
  • you cannot prove there was a reason that kept you from living together,
  • you are engaged to be married (in this case, you should either apply as a spouse once the marriage has taken place or apply as a common-law partner if you have lived together continuously for at least 12 months).

Parents & Grandparents

To sponsor your parents you must be living in Canada. If you have previously sponsored relatives who later turned to the Canadian government for financial assistance, you may not be allowed to sponsor another person. Sponsorship is a big commitment, so you must take this obligation seriously.

To be a sponsor

  • You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative if necessary. This agreement also states that the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support themselves. Dependent children under age 19 do not have to sign this agreement. Quebec residents must sign an “undertaking” with the province of Quebec—a contract binding the sponsorship.
  • You must promise to provide financial support for the relative and any other eligible relatives accompanying them for a period of three to ten years, depending on their age and relationship to you. This time period begins on the date they become a permanent resident.

You may not be eligible to sponsor your parent or grandparent if you

  • failed to provide the financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor another relative in the past
  • defaulted on a court-ordered support order, such as alimony or child support
  • received government financial assistance for reasons other than a disability
  • were convicted of a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence—depending on circumstances, such as the nature of the offence, how long ago it occurred and whether a record suspension (formerly called “pardons” in Canada), was issued
  • defaulted on an immigration loan—late or missed payments
  • are in prison or
  • have declared bankruptcy and have not been released from it yet

Dependent Child & Other

A son or daughter is dependent when the child

  • is under age 19 and does not have a spouse or common-law partner, or
  • is 19 years of age or older and has depended largely on the financial support of a parent since before age 19 because of a physical or mental condition.

Orphaned close relatives

You can sponsor close relatives, related by blood or adoption, such as brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren only if they meet all of the following conditions

  • They are orphaned,
  • They are under 18, and
  • They do not have a spouse, common law partner, or conjugal partner.

Other relative

You may sponsor one relative, related by blood or adoption, of any age if you meet all of the following conditions

1.You do not have a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner, or one of the following living relatives you could sponsor instead

  • son or daughter
  • parent
  • grandparent
  • brother or sister
  • uncle, aunt
  • nephew or niece

2.You do not have any of the above-named relatives who is a

  • Canadian citizen,
  • permanent resident, or
  • registered Indian under the Indian Act.

If the relative you want to sponsor has a spouse, partner, or dependent children who will come with them to Canada you must include them on the same sponsorship application.

We'll be glad not only to provide professional advice on family sponsorship, but also provide complete assistance with an application process for the sponsorship of Your loved ones.


Is a Sponsor a Permanent Resident or a Canadian citizen?

Describe Sponsor's Family in Canada

Does a Sponsor have a spouse/common-law partner?
How many children under 18 y.o does a Sponsor have?

Relationship with a Sponsor

Who is sponsored?
How many children under 18 y.o. does a sponsored person have?

Contact information