Operational Bulletin 561 – December 31, 2013 (Modified)

New Regulations for sponsors of parents and grandparents

Summary

Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), primarily pertaining to the sponsorship of parents and grandparents, received Governor in Council approval on December 12, 2013 and will come into force on January 1, 2014.

Issue

The purpose of this Operational Bulletin is to inform officers of the coming into force of new regulatory requirements for sponsors in the family class, primarily pertaining to persons who sponsor parents and grandparents.

Background

On November 5, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) issued the fourth set of Ministerial Instructions (MI4), which introduced a temporary pause on new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents for up to 24 months, while a more responsive, sustainable, and long-term approach for the program was developed. This temporary pause was implemented as part of a broader strategy to address the large backlog and wait times in the parent and grandparent immigrant category and to support the attainment of immigration goals set by the Government of Canada.

On June 15, 2013, Ministerial Instructions (MI9) were issued to manage the processing of new applications to sponsor parents and grandparents as members of the family class. These MIs extended the temporary pause on the acceptance of new applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents until January 1, 2014, and established that, beginning on January 2, 2014, when the program reopens, a maximum of 5,000 new complete applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents will be accepted for processing each year. This limit, which was set to support the continued reduction of the current backlog of applications, will remain in place unless changed by a new MI issued in the future.

The primary objectives of the regulatory amendments are to increase the efficiency of the parent and grandparent sponsorship program and decrease the likelihood of future backlogs and lengthy wait times. The redesigned program also introduces more rigorous financial requirements for sponsors of parents and grandparents to improve the fiscal sustainability of the program. The new regulations increase the financial responsibility placed on sponsors of parents and grandparents as well as the duration of the sponsorship undertaking; both the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) and the period over which income is assessed have increased for sponsors of parents and grandparents, to allow for a more robust assessment of the financial stability of the sponsor and their ability to meet the needs of their family members, including those they sponsor.

Expanding on a previous regulatory provision which allowed officers to conduct a reassessment of the sponsor’s income when they receive information indicating that a sponsor is no longer able to fulfill the sponsorship undertaking, the amended regulations further authorize officers to request updated evidence of income if more than one year has elapsed since the receipt of the sponsorship application. This ensures that sponsors continue to meet the income threshold for their family size when a decision is made on the application for permanent residence of a sponsored family member. This new authority can be exercised in regards to all sponsors under the family class where an MNI applies (and not exclusively to sponsors of parents and grandparents).

New Criteria

Sponsors of parents and grandparents

To achieve a more responsive and sustainable program for this family class category, the following regulatory changes (Appendix A) were made to the sponsorship criteria for parents and grandparents:

  • An extended undertaking period for sponsors of parents and grandparents and their accompanying dependents to 20 years (R132(1)(b)(iv));
  • An increased MNI equivalent to the annual MNI plus 30% (R133(1)(j)(i)(B));
  • Evidence of income limited exclusively to documents issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) (R134(1.1)(a));
  • A lengthened period for demonstrating ability to meet the MNI from one year to three years (R134(1.1)(a)).

In practical terms, this means that, under the amended regulations, to be eligible, prospective sponsors of parents and grandparents must meet the following requirements:

  • They must demonstrate that for the three consecutive taxation years preceding the date of their application, their income, including the income of the co-signer, if applicable, is equal to or greater than the annual MNI plus 30% for each of the three years;
  • They must submit a Notice of Assessment (NOA) or an equivalent document (Option C print out) issued by the CRA to substantiate the amount of their income and their co-signer’s income, if applicable, for each of the three consecutive years preceding the date of their application (for example, in January 2014, applicants must submit the NOA or Option C print out for 2012, 2011 and 2010 taxation years). No other proof of income will be accepted;
  • The calculation of the sponsor’s total income will include the income of the co-signer, if applicable, and will be based on the amount recorded on the NOA or other document issued by the CRA (Option C print out) to the sponsor and to the co-signer, if applicable, less any amounts earned from the following sources:
    1. any provincial allowance received by the sponsor for a program of instruction or training;
    2. any social assistance received by the sponsor from a province;
    3. any financial assistance received by the sponsor from the Government of Canada under a resettlement assistance program;
    4. any amounts paid to the sponsor under the Employment Insurance Act, other than special benefits;
    5. any monthly guaranteed income supplement paid to the sponsor under the Old Age Security Act; and
    6. any Canada child tax benefit paid to the sponsor under the Income Tax Act.
  • The duration of the undertaking for the principal applicant and all accompanying dependents included on the application to sponsor a parent or grandparent is 20 years.

Authority to request updated evidence of income

Subsection 134(2) of IRPR now provides officers with the authority to request updated evidence of income from all sponsors who submit a sponsorship application for a member of the family class in the following circumstances:

  1. the officer receives information indicating that the sponsor is no longer able to fulfil the obligations of the sponsorship undertaking; or
  2. more than 12 months have elapsed since the receipt of the sponsorship application.

If the sponsor has submitted a sponsorship application for a parent or grandparent, when assessing updated financial information, the income calculation rule in paragraph 134(3)(c) must be applied. The sponsor’s income and the co-signer’s income, if applicable, is calculated on the basis of the income earned as reported in the NOA, or an equivalent document (Option C print out), issued by the CRA in respect of each of the three consecutive taxation years immediately preceding the day on which the officer receives the updated evidence. For example, if an application to sponsor a parent or grandparent was submitted in January 2014 and was being processed in July 2016, an officer may request updated financial information from the sponsor. The income calculation will be based on the NOA or option C for taxation years 2015, 2014 and 2013. As in an initial assessment, the sponsor’s income and the co-signer’s income, if applicable, is the income earned as reported in the NOA or Option C printout, not including:

  1. any provincial allowance received by the sponsor for a program of instruction or training;
  2. any social assistance received by the sponsor from a province;
  3. any financial assistance received by the sponsor from the Government of Canada under a resettlement assistance program;
  4. any amounts paid to the sponsor under the Employment Insurance Act, other than special benefits;
  5. any monthly guaranteed income supplement paid to the sponsor under the Old Age Security Act; and
  6. any Canada child tax benefit paid to the sponsor under the Income Tax Act.

Paragraph 134(1.1)(c) further provides for the income of a co-signer, if applicable, to be included in the calculation of the sponsor’s income, with any modifications that the circumstances require.

Note: The income calculation rules pertaining to a reassessment have not changed for family class sponsors and co-signers, if applicable, who have sponsored a family member other than a parent or grandparent.

Instructions

The temporary pause on the acceptance of new applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents as members of the family class will end on January 1, 2014. When the redesigned program is launched on January 2, 2014, a maximum of 5,000 new complete applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents will be accepted for processing each year. The cap year which begins on January 2, 2014, will end on January 1, 2015, unless otherwise indicated in a future Ministerial Instruction. Subsequent years will also be calculated from January 2 to January 1 of the following year, unless otherwise indicated in a future Ministerial Instruction.

New complete applications received on or after January 2, 2014, must be assessed against the new regulatory requirements which come into force on January 1, 2014. Based on Ministerial Instructions (MI9), new applications will be processed only if received by the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M) on or after January 2, 2014. In addition, only applications completed according to the application kit requirements in place at the time the application is received by CPC-M will be considered for processing under the cap of 5,000 applications established in MI9. To allow for the counting of the cap in a fair and equitable manner, applications must be individually packaged and delivered to CPC-M exclusively by mail or by courier. CPC-M will not accept applications submitted in bulk. In calculating the cap, sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents will be considered in the order of the date they are received. Applications received on the same date will be considered for processing according to routine office procedures.

The CPC-M will review applications for completeness pursuant to section 10 of the IRPR, including the application kit requirements in place at the time the application is received. Applications to sponsor parents and grandparents received at CPC-M which are incomplete must be returned to the sponsor; the sponsor must be informed that their application was not accepted because it was incomplete and processing fees must not be processed. Applications returned will not hold a place in the 5,000-application cap. If an application which was returned is re-submitted to CPC-M, it will be reviewed for completeness based on the date received when re-submitted.

Sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents received at the CPC-M before January 2, 2014, will not be accepted and will be returned to the sponsor. Sponsorship applications received after the 5,000 cap has been filled will also be returned. Sponsors will be notified by letter if their application was received after the cap was filled.

All family class applications for parents and grandparents in the Department’s existing inventory, which were received before the pause on the acceptance of new applications was put in place in November 2011, will be processed against the regulatory requirements in force prior to January 1, 2014. They include applications which currently reside at the CPC-M as well as those currently held at visa offices, including the Case Processing Centre office in Ottawa (CPC-O).

Payment of fees

Since there will be an annual cap on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents, CIC will only receive fees that are paid by certified cheque to the Receiver General for Canada or by credit card. Fees that are paid in any other manner (for example, online payments, money orders), will not be accepted and the application will be returned to the sponsor or representative, where applicable. The Fee Payment Form (IMM 5770) must be completed and included as part of the application for the application to be considered complete. The certified cheque or credit card payment to the Receiver General for Canada authorized on the Fee Payment Form must cover the processing fees for the principal applicant and all accompanying dependents included in the application. The Right of Permanent Resident Fee is not required when the application is submitted and will be requested at a later date. If the amount authorized on the Fee Payment Form is insufficient to cover the processing fees required for all persons included in the sponsorship application, the application will be considered incomplete and will be returned. If the amount authorized on the Fee Payment Form is in excess of the amount due, the application will be considered complete and payment will be taken only for the processing fees due.

Note: The credit card used for fee payment must be valid for at least 9 months from the date on which the application is submitted.

Applications which do not meet the criteria for processing under the cap

As noted above, CIC will not retain applications to sponsor parents and grandparents which are incomplete. CPC-M will return such applications and will notify sponsors by letter that their application could not be accepted for processing for the cap year in question because it did not meet the completeness criteria described above; in such instances, no processing fees will be processed.

CIC will also not retain applications to sponsor parents and grandparents which are received after the cap has been filled. CPC-M will return such applications and will notify sponsors by letter that their application was not accepted for processing for the cap year in question because it was received after the cap was filled; no processing fees will be processed. In such circumstances, sponsors may submit a new application on or after January 2 of the following year, for consideration in the cap of 5,000 applications for that year, unless the cap is changed by new Ministerial Instructions.

Processing priorities

CIC will continue to process applications to sponsor parents and grandparents based on the first in first out principle. This means that new applications submitted in this category when the program reopens on January 2, 2014, will be placed in queue behind the applications in the existing inventory of sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents.

Documents and tools


Appendix A – Regulations Amending The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

Amendments

1. (1) Paragraph 132(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (SOR/2002-227) is amended by striking out “and” at the end of subparagraph 132(1)(b)(iii) and by replacing subparagraph 132(1)(b)(iv) with the following:

  • (iv) on the last day of the period of 20 years following the day on which the foreign national becomes a permanent resident, if the foreign national is
    1. the sponsor’s mother or father,
    2. the mother or father of the sponsor’s mother or father, or
    3. an accompanying family member of the foreign national described in clause (A) or (B), and
  • (v) if the foreign national is a person other than a person referred to in subparagraph (i), (ii), (iii) or (iv), on the last day of the period of 10 years following the day on which the foreign national becomes a permanent resident.

(2) Paragraphs 132(2)(a) and (b) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  1. if the foreign national is a sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, on the last day of the period of three years following the day on which the foreign national becomes a permanent resident;
  2. if the foreign national is a dependent child of the sponsor or of the sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, or is a person referred to in paragraph 117(1)(g), and is less than 19 years of age on the day on which he or she becomes a permanent resident, the later of
    • the day on which the foreign national reaches 19 years of age, and
    • the last day of the period of 10 years following the day on which the foreign national becomes a permanent resident;
  3. if the foreign national is a dependent child of the sponsor or of the sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner and is 19 years of age or older on the day on which he or she becomes a permanent resident, on the last day of the period of 10 years following the day on which the foreign national becomes a permanent resident;
  4. on the last day of the period of 20 years following the day on which the foreign national becomes a permanent resident, if the foreign national is
    • the sponsor’s mother or father,
    • the mother or father of the sponsor’s mother or father, or
    • an accompanying family member of the foreign national described in subparagraph (i) or (ii); and
  5. if the foreign national is a person other than a person referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d), on the last day of the period of 10 years following the day on which the foreign national becomes a permanent resident.

(3) Paragraph 132(5)(a) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  1. the sponsor’s income shall be calculated in accordance with paragraph 134(1)(b) or (c) or (1.1)(b), as applicable; and

2. Subparagraph 133(1)(j)(i) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  • (i) in a province other than a province referred to in paragraph 131(b),
  • (A) has a total income that is at least equal to the minimum necessary income, if the sponsorship application was filed in respect of a foreign national other than a foreign national referred to in clause (B), or
  • (B) has a total income that is at least equal to the minimum necessary income, plus 30%, for each of the three consecutive taxation years immediately preceding the date of filing of the sponsorship application, if the sponsorship application was filed in respect of a foreign national who is
    • the sponsor’s mother or father,
    • the mother or father of the sponsor’s mother or father, or
    • an accompanying family member of the foreign national described in subclause (I) or (II), and

3. (1) The portion of subsection 134(1) of the Regulations before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

Income calculation rules

134. (1) Subject to subsection (3), for the purpose of clause 133(1)(j)(i)(A), the sponsor’s total income shall be calculated in accordance with the following rules:

(2) Subsection 134(2) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Exception

(1.1) Subject to subsection (3), for the purpose of clause 133(1)(j)(i)(B), the sponsor’s total income shall be calculated in accordance with the following rules:

  1. the sponsor’s income shall be calculated on the basis of the income earned as reported in the notices of assessment, or an equivalent document, issued by the Minister of National Revenue in respect of each of the three consecutive taxation years immediately preceding the date of filing of the sponsorship application;
  2. the sponsor’s income is the income earned as reported in the documents referred to in paragraph (a), not including
    1. any provincial allowance received by the sponsor for a program of instruction or training,
    2. any social assistance received by the sponsor from a province,
    3. any financial assistance received by the sponsor from the Government of Canada under a resettlement assistance program,
    4. any amounts paid to the sponsor under the Employment Insurance Act, other than special benefits,
    5. any monthly guaranteed income supplement paid to the sponsor under the Old Age Security Act, and
    6. any Canada child tax benefit paid to the sponsor under the Income Tax Act; and
  3. if there is a co-signer, the income of the co-signer, as calculated in accordance with paragraphs (a) and (b), with any modifications that the circumstances require, shall be included in the calculation of the sponsor’s income.

Updated evidence of income

(2) An officer may request from the sponsor, after the receipt of the sponsorship application but before a decision is made on a permanent resident application, updated evidence of income if

  1. the officer receives information indicating that the sponsor is no longer able to fulfil the obligations of the sponsorship undertaking; or
  2. more than 12 months have elapsed since the receipt of the sponsorship application.

Modified income calculation rules

(3) When an officer receives the updated evidence of income requested under subsection (2), the sponsor’s total income shall be calculated in accordance with subsection (1) or (1.1), as applicable, except that

  1. in the case of paragraph (1)(a), the sponsor’s income shall be calculated on the basis of the last notice of assessment, or an equivalent document, issued by the Minister of National Revenue in respect of the most recent taxation year preceding the day on which the officer receives the updated evidence;
  2. in the case of paragraph (1)(c), the sponsor’s income is the sponsor’s Canadian income earned during the 12-month period preceding the day on which the officer receives the updated evidence; and
  3. in the case of paragraph (1.1)(a), the sponsor’s income shall be calculated on the basis of the income earned as reported in the notices of assessment, or an equivalent document, issued by the Minister of National Revenue in respect of each of the three consecutive taxation years immediately preceding the day on which the officer receives the updated evidence.

Coming into force

4. These Regulations come into force on January 1, 2014.

Date Modified: