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How do I calculate my family size to sponsor my parents and grandparents?

You, the sponsor (and your co-signer, if applicable), must prove that you have enough income to support all the people you’ll be financially responsible for once you become a sponsor. We call this your “family size”, which is the number of people you’ll be responsible for.

To calculate your family size, include:

  • yourself
  • your spouse or common-law partner (who could also be your co-signer)
  • your dependent children
    • only include your children if they meet the definition of a dependent child
    • for young children, only include them starting on the year they were born (see example 2)
  • your spouse’s or partner’s dependent children
    • only include children who meet the definition of a dependent child
    • for young children, only include them starting on the year they were born (see example 2)
  • any other person you (and your co-signer, if applicable) may have sponsored in the past, for whom you’re still financially responsible
  • the parents and grandparents you want to sponsor and their dependants (spouse or partner and dependent children). You must also include
    • any dependent children who won’t come to Canada with your parents or grandparents
    • your parent or grandparent’s spouse or partner, even if they won’t come to Canada
    • your parent or grandparents’ separated spouse

Here are examples to help you calculate your family size.

Example 1

Julie is sponsoring her mother and stepfather. Julie’s husband, David, will help her meet the income requirement by co-signing the application. Julie and David have 2 young children, aged 5 and 7. Julie’s stepfather has a 15 year old daughter, Dahlia. Dahlia won’t immigrate to Canada with her father.

Julie’s family size is 7:

  • Julie
  • her husband, David
  • her 2 children
  • her mother and stepfather
  • her stepfather’s daughter, Dahlia
    • because Dahlia qualifies as a dependent child, she’s included in the family size, even if she’s not immigrating to Canada

Before Julie submits her interest to sponsor form, Julie and her husband must:

  • check the income table to see what the income requirements are for 7 persons
  • check their tax information from the last 3 years and make sure that, together, they meet the minimum income requirements for each of the last 3 years

Example 2

Juan and Lise had a baby in 2017. Juan wants to sponsor his mother. Lise won’t co-sign the application. Juan’s mother doesn’t have a spouse, partner or any dependent children.

For 2017 and 2018, Juan’s family size is 4:

  • Juan
  • his partner, Lise
  • his baby
  • his mother

For 2017 and 2018, Juan must check if he meets the income requirement for 4 persons.

For 2016, Juan’s family size was 3:

  • Because Juan’s baby wasn’t born yet, the baby is not included for that year.

For 2016, Juan must check if he meets the income requirements for 3 persons.

Example 3

Ryan and Anne became common-law partners in 2017. They had a baby in 2018. Ryan wants to sponsor his grandmother and grandfather. Ryan’s grandparents don’t have any dependent children. Anne will be the co-signer.

If Ryan wants to sponsor his grandparents in 2019, Ryan and Anne (together) have to meet the income requirements for 2018, 2017 and 2016.

In 2016, Ryan’s family size was 3:

  • Ryan
  • his grandmother and grandfather

In 2017, Ryan’s family size was 4:

  • Ryan
  • his grandmother and grandfather
  • his partner, Anne

In 2018, Ryan’s family size was 5:

  • Ryan
  • his grandmother and grandfather
  • his partner, Anne
  • his baby

Even though Anne is only included in the family size in 2017, she has to provide her proof of income for 2018, 2017 and 2016, as she’s the co-signer on the application.


Glossary term

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