A return to form

May 3rd, 2017

There has been much commotion over recent months about the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP), through which eligible Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their parent(s) or grandparent(s) for permanent resident status.

Family reunification often has a crucial role in immigrant settlement, as it allows the family unit to exist in the same place, thereby allowing workers to work and children to be cared for. Moreover, there are the less tangible benefits arising from being around loved ones. Consequently, the government of Canada reserves a portion of its annual intake for parents and grandparents of those who came before.

First, a short history of the PGP.

The program reopened in 2013 with new criteria after a hiatus that began in 2011. This hiatus allowed a multi-year backlog in applications to be dealt with, and for the then Conservative government to formulate criteria.

The program has proven to be one of the most competitive Canadian immigration programs. The 2014 intake, which had an application cap of 5,000 complete applications, filled in just three weeks. This period was shorter again in 2015, and by 2016 the intake was filled within three days. Individuals seeking to bring loved ones to Canada through the PGP were reportedly paying large sums to couriers in an effort to get their application to the top of the pile for a program that was inundated with more applications than available spots.

And so, the current Liberal government decided to do something. First, it announced that 10,000 new applications would be accepted for processing in 2017. Second, it set a target to bring in 20,000 new parents and grandparents through the PGP in 2017, with many of those being welcomed from the still-existing backlog. And finally, it revealed a new Expression of Interest – Invitation to Apply-based process for 2017.

These were all welcome steps taken by the government. However, the ‘Interest to Sponsor’ form, which became available for a few weeks over the winter, was not without hitches.

The form asked for basic contact and personal details, such as name, date and country of birth, and address — and that was it.

Of the 95,000 or so individuals who submitted a form, the government subsequently selected at random 10,000 sponsors. Of these, it is entirely possible — indeed likely — that many are ultimately not eligible to sponsor, for example by not being able to satisfy the minimum income requirement for the three previous years. This is because the initial form didn’t ask anything in relation to eligibility for the program. Consequently, some of the chosen may be in a position to submit an ultimately unsuccessful application, while many eligible potential sponsors may be unable to submit a complete application because they weren’t selected at all.

All of this has riled those affected, to the extent that an official petition was submitted to Parliament by a man named Brad Fach, from Cambridge, Ontario. This petition was then sponsored by Marwan Tabbara, Liberal Member of Parliament for Kitchener South – Hespeler. Tabbara, to his credit, was using his position as a backbench MP to petition against a policy initiated by his own party, for the betterment of his constituents and Canadian residents generally. For that, he should be commended.

However, the petition calls for the following steps to be taken by the Minister of Immigration, a position currently held by Ahmed Hussen:

1. Repeal the December 2016 change until a more comprehensive plan can be formulated and give people the opportunity to provide feedback about the coming changes;

2. Phase the changes in over the course of a few years, allowing the people who have prepared for 2017 to submit as per usual; and

3. Give previous lottery losers priority in the subsequent years if they do not make it in previous year lottery.

At this stage, point 1 appears dead in the water, because the department is already accepting the new applications. In addition, point 2 is opaque, as it is not clear what ‘as per usual’ refers to. Does it mean as per last year’s process? We can’t be sure.

An Interest to Sponsor form is not a bad idea in theory. In fact, it is a sound one, as it turns what was an informal lottery with a very short intake period into a more formal lottery with a given window of opportunity to submit a profile.

The problem this time around was that the form was a bad form in practice. By not evaluating for basic eligibility, it wastes many people’s time, not least IRCC staff who may have to go over the applications and find that many are ineligible.

So let’s get this right, and have a better form that is fit for purpose for the upcoming application cycle. Family reunification is too important an issue for it be otherwise.

Previous Blog : Actions must follow words
Next Blog : Slipping through the cracks

8 Responses to “A return to form”

  • On May 4th, 2017, Rohini said ...

    I tried to bring my mom to Canada through the super visa program but it didn’t work because she doesn’t have any ties in srilanka, but we are very wealthy family. Her super visa rejected about 5 times. Canadian government doesn’t show any humanity process for lonely parents, I had only one hopes, the PGP sponsorship, but I wasn’t selected on draw. If they do something to lonely parents, that will be a great help to their children.

  • On May 4th, 2017, Anonymous said ...

    My wealth depleted educating my daughter for Masters degree and also my son for undergraduates degree in Canada, they have now been here since 5 years. We parents are lonely in India, we have still not got Permanent residency here through both our adult children. We feel cheated about canada.

  • On May 5th, 2017, Anonymous said ...

    Lets get the new lottery organised so its fair and give more info. not to waste time! its peoples lives here!!

  • On May 7th, 2017, Anonymous said ...

    We have attempted to move to Canada for many years. We always got denied for various reasons. Notwithstanding, we have done a lot for our family in Nova Scotia. First we purchase 6 parcels of land in Digby and Shelburne Counties. One oceanfront parcel was purchased in the Digby area not far from Primpoint Lighthouse. ACOA approved the site for the cottage building program. We started the planning process only to learn that an election brought in a new party and the cottage program was ended.

  • On May 7th, 2017, Anonymous said ...

    We also purchased a lobster boat for our boys to run. We owned the boat for 11 years and basically took nothing out of the income. Now we want to move to Nova Scotia to be closer to our children, grand children and great grand children. I am sure by now we are too old to qualify for immigration. Sucks that they shooed us away for all those years. Then we see the immigration of 100,000 muslims many of whom simply want to kill us and take over our government — case in point — look at Michigan and see what is happening there. Sharia law is not compatible with the North American society.

  • On May 31st, 2017, Hasmik said ...

    It’s been 2 years I am trying to sponsor my mom, but unfortunately without any success. Me and my husband are very loyal and wealthy Canadian citizens. I am the only child and my mom has nobody in Armenia, she is divorced since 1983. And we have one daughter, my mom’s only granddaughter. It’s very hard emotionally to stay away so far from the loved ones and to have only one option to get in touch by SKYPE. It’s very stressful both for us and especially for my mom who has nobody in her life except us. I think it should be some priorities or exceptions for this kind of situations. Nobody knows how many years we have to wait until we win this lottery. Maybe it NEVER happens. The life is so short to stay away for the loved ones. Please help us to have our parents beside us. Thank you

  • On June 1st, 2017, Anonymous said ...

    FOR PGP Category,first Canada government allows only Citizens of Canada as they have significantly improved development of Canada.Than after give the preferences to PR.IN PR CATEGORY they give the priority first more than 3 Three years and so on i.e. more than 2 years and more than 1years.if government adopted this process than it will be justified,because who are citizens and gives their best FOR development of Canada more than less than one year PR/Two years PR/Three years PR.

  • On June 1st, 2017, Anonymous said ...

    The form should be considered giving priority to Citizens migratetd to the Canada, period of stay there,dependent children of the school going age .group,employment /working status of the applicants and dependency of the parents.They should have edge over PR status as being accustomed to the culture,rules and regulations prevalency.

Leave a Reply

Go to Blog Home Page