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Reuniting with your loved ones through Canada’s Parents and Grandparents Program

Published on September 22nd, 2022 at 01:00pm EDT

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Canada places an immense priority on reuniting family members through immigration. That is why the family class is consistently Canada’s second-largest group of immigrants. In the first half (Jan-July) of 2022, 51,745 immigrants came to this country through family-class programs.

From dependent children and spouses to parents and grandparents, Canada takes great pride in providing Canadian citizens and permanent residents with programs to help bring their loved ones to this country.

One of these programs is called the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP).

Sponsor your parents and grandparents for Canadian immigration

A program that uniquely only lasts several weeks every year, the PGP provides Canadian citizens and permanent residents with a way to help their parents and grandparents receive permanent residence in this country. Eventually, parents and grandparents who become permanent residents through this program may also be eligible for Canadian citizenship.

Under this program, Canadians can sponsor either one or both of their parents or grandparents, but they are still required to list their other living parent/grandparent on the application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Past years of the PGP

The PGP changes the number of applications it takes every year. For context prior to providing an explanation of the program, IRCC accepted a maximum of 10,000 applications in 2020 but that number rose to 30,000 in 2021.

This number could change once again when the IRCC opens PGP applications for the 2022 year.

2021 PGP eligibility criteria (Canada excluding Quebec)

Although this criteria may change for the 2022 program year, the 2021 eligibility criteria for this program were as follows:

  • A sponsor must be invited to apply
  • A sponsor must be either a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
  • A sponsor cannot be a temporary resident on a visa or permit nor have an ‘in progress’ permanent resident application
  • Sponsors must be at least 18 years of age
  • Sponsors must be residing in Canada (potential applicants will need to provide proof of status during the ‘Interest to Sponsor’ phase) during the application process and after the application decision
  • The person or persons being sponsored must not, as determined by the Canadian government, have a medical condition that either poses a danger to public health and safety or places excessive demand on health/social services
  • The sponsor must not be receiving social assistance from IRCC (Employment Insurance and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit do not qualify as social assistance)
  • A sponsor must meet all other requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
  • Exceed the minimum necessary income (MNI) level for this program and provide proof of income to IRCC (details below)
  • Sign an undertaking (details below)

Details regarding the MNI requirement for the Parents and Grandparents program are as follows:

  • The MNI is a measure of the level of income in a household, used to determine whether an applicant can support themselves, their family unit, and those they wish to sponsor (details on the definition of a family unit and the PGP-specific MNI for Canadians outside of Quebec can be found here)
  • If married or in a common-law relationship, the income of both the sponsor and spouse can be included
  • The sponsor on a PGP application (outside Quebec) must exceed the MNI for the three consecutive taxation years prior to the submission date of their application to be eligible for this program
  • To prove that an applicant meets MNI requirements, they must submit Canada Revenue Agency-issue notices of assessment to support their application

Details regarding the undertaking process for the Parents and Grandparents program are as follows. By signing an undertaking, the Canadian applicant (outside of Quebec) is making a 20-year commitment to:

  • Financially support, including for essential needs, the sponsored person(s) (starting when they become permanent residents)
  • Repay any social assistance benefits paid to the sponsored family members (if applicable)

PGP ineligibility (Canada excluding Quebec)

There are several reasons a potential PGP sponsor may be deemed ineligible for this program. Some of those reasons include if the potential sponsor:

  • Is in jail, prison, or penitentiary
  • Did not give the financial support they agreed to when signing a sponsorship agreement to sponsor a relative in the past
  • Has declared bankruptcy and are not discharged
  • Has received social assistance for a reason other than a disability
  • Was convicted of a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative, or any sexual offence inside or outside Canada
  • Cannot legally stay in Canada and must leave the country because they received a Removal Order
  • Did not pay back: An immigration loan, a performance bond and/or a court-ordered family support payments such as alimony or child support

2021 PGP application steps (Canada excluding Quebec)

The following were the four application steps for this program in 2021. Please note that this process may change for the 2022 program year.

Step 1: Ensure you have met the eligibility criteria

If a sponsor wishes to do so, they may have their common-law partner or spouse co-sign the PGP application to help meet the minimum necessary income criteria for eligibility. The co-signer must also prove income for the three taxation years prior to the application submission. Additionally, a PGP co-signer will be subject to the same eligibility requirements as the primary sponsor as well as the terms associated with the signed undertaking.

Step 2: Have completed an Interest to Sponsor form on IRCC’s website

Step 3: If a sponsor has submitted a past ‘Interest to Sponsor’, they must ensure they update the information entered in those forms

Step 4: Wait for the IRCC to hold their annual PGP lottery, after which sponsors will have 60 days to submit completed sponsorship applications to IRCC if selected

IRCC lottery note: IRCC has found their lottery system to be the fairest and most transparent selection process for the PGP. It removes duplicate applications and ensures true randomization.

2021 PGP in Quebec

There are crucial differences in the PGP process for Quebec when compared to the rest of Canada.

Below are differences in eligibility criteria and application steps from 2021. Please note that these criteria and steps may change again for the 2022 program year.

2021 Eligibility Criteria:

  • The Quebec government has its own set of immigration sponsorship requirements that a Canadian sponsor living in that province must meet beyond the criteria established by IRCC. Details can be found on the Quebec government website.
  • Quebec also uses a different standard for MNI, although it is still based on the size of a sponsor’s “family unit (MNI and family unit details for Quebec can be found here). The Government of Quebec will also assess the sponsor’s income.
  • The province of Quebec imposes a 10-year undertaking agreement as opposed to the 20-year commitment throughout the rest of the country. In this part of Canada, sponsors will also be required to sign an additional undertaking form on top of the one provided through IRCC.

2021 Application Steps:

Step 1: Ensure you have met the eligibility criteria

Step 2: Have completed an Interest to Sponsor form on IRCC’s website

Step 3: If a sponsor has submitted a past ‘Interest to Sponsor’, they must ensure they update the information entered in those forms

Step 4: Wait for the IRCC to hold their annual PGP lottery, after which sponsors will have 60 days to submit completed sponsorship applications to IRCC if selected

Step 5: Obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (“CSQ” in French) by applying to the Quebec government. Once it is obtained, submit it to IRCC

PGP application processing

The IRCC notes that the average processing time for a PGP application is between 20 and 24 months.

Sponsor your parents and grandparents for Canadian immigration

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