Three generations of a family relaxing at home with a new-born child

As has been widely expected, the number of applications to be accepted annually for the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) has been doubled from 5,000 to 10,000. Through the PGP, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada permanently.

During last year's general election campaign, the now-governing Liberal Party pledged to increase the number of applications that may be accepted through this popular program.The program will reopen on January 3, 2017, with a cap of 10,000 new and complete applications.

Despite the increase in the number of applications to be accepted, demand is expected to continue to outstrip supply. The PGP most recently reopened for receipt of new applications on January 4, 2016, and the cap of 5,000 new applications was reached by January 7. More than 14,000 applications were submitted from January 4 to January 7, of which the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) retained the first 10,000 complete applications for processing.

These applications are in additional to a pre-exising backlog, with IRCC publishing that it is now working on applications received on or before November 4, 2011.

While the most recent instructions change the intake cap for the program, they don’t change any other elements of the program, including the applications will be processed on a first−come, first−served basis. This has created a lucrative business for couriers who are charging hundreds of dollars to ensure that an application reaches its destination before the cap has been reached.