Canada’s Parents and Grandparents Program: Are you ready?

Canada will reopen its Parents and Grandparents sponsorship program next Monday to expressions of interest and invitations to apply to the program will be issued on a first-in, first-served basis.  

This means the quicker you can get your complete Interest to Sponsor form submitted, the better your chances may be of getting an invitation to apply to sponsor your parents and grandparents for permanent residence in Canada through the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP).

IRCC says the Interest to Sponsor form should only take about 10 minutes to complete if you have all the necessary information and documents ready to go.

With this in mind, here’s a primer on how the expression of interest process works and the information that’s required so you can hit the ground running when the form goes live.

What? When? Where?

The first step in the sponsorship process is completing an Interest to Sponsor form. This is not an application to the PGP, but instead lets Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) know that you would like to sponsor your parents and grandparents for permanent residence in Canada.

The Interest to Sponsor form will be made available at 12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time next Monday, January 28, on IRCC’s website and will remain available until a set number of completed forms are received.

Invitations to apply to the PGP will then be issued to eligible potential sponsors in the order Interest to Sponsor forms were received until IRCC’s 2019 cap of 20,000 complete applications is met.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada and who is over the age of 18 can sponsor their parents and grandparents.

All interested sponsors will have to confirm that they have the required income for the number of family members they’ll be supporting financially. For more on this, see the Minimum Necessary Income Requirement section below.

What constitutes a complete Interest to Sponsor form?

A complete Interest to Sponsor form requires the following information:

  • The interested sponsor’s family name and given name(s) exactly as it is written on the proof of status in Canada document they will have to submit along with the Interest to Sponsor form.
  • Interested sponsor’s date of birth.
  • The country or territory where the interested sponsor was born.
  • The interested sponsor’s primary residential address (where they live)
    • The interested sponsor must live in Canada.
    • All fields must be completed and the complete address provided.
    • Street number, street name, apartment or unit number (if applicable) must be provided along with P.O. Box (if applicable), province or territory, and postal code.
    • For the street number and address, include the street type (street, boulevard, avenue, etc.). IRCC provides the following format as an example: 123 John St. or 123 John Ave. or 123 John Pl.
  • The interested sponsor’s email address.
  • The number of family members in the interested sponsor’s family unit.
  • The total number of persons to be sponsored, including their dependents (spouse, partner and children)
  • Names of the parents and grandparents who would be sponsored.
  • Date of birth of the parents and grandparents who would be sponsored.
  • The interested sponsor’s proof of status in Canada document number.
  • The interested sponsor’s electronic signature (they must type their name).

You cannot adjust your information once the Interest to Sponsor form has been submitted.

If IRCC invites you to apply, you can provide your updated information in your application. You will need to provide a letter explaining any changes along with proof of the changes.

Proof of Status in Canada

The proof of status in Canada requirement has been added to the Interest to Sponsor process for 2019.

Along with the proof of status document number listed above, interested sponsors will have to upload an electronic (digital) copy of their proof of status document. IRCC says that requiring all potential sponsors to submit this document will help them “detect duplication and possible fraud within the system.”

IRCC will accept expired status in Canada documents for the purposes of the Interest to Sponsor form. The same document must be used if the interested sponsor is invited to submit a complete application.

The following document types will be accepted as proof of status in Canada:

  • permanent resident card (both sides)
  • record of landing (IMM 1000) (only if the interested sponsor didn’t get a PR Card)
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292 or IMM 5688)
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate or card (both sides)
  • Canadian birth certificate
    • If the interested sponsor was born in Quebec, IRCC will only accept a birth certificate from the Directeur de l’État civil.
  • Canadian passport (pages showing passport number, date of issue and expiration, photo, name, surname, place and date of birth)

IRCC advises interested sponsors to prepare their electronic proof of status in Canada document ahead of time and save it where it’s easy to find on their computer or mobile device.

Note that the maximum file size that can be uploaded is 2.5 MB. If the document exceeds this size, it won’t be possible to upload the document and submit the Interest to Sponsor form.

Only one file can be uploaded with the Interest to Sponsor form. If you are required to provide both sides of your proof of status in Canada document, they must both appear on a single document. IRCC advises that the easiest way to do this is to include both images in a Microsoft Word document.

The document must be saved as one of the following file formats:

  • PDF (Portable Document)
  • JPG, TIFF, or PNG (image)
  • DOC or DOCX (Microsoft Word document)

When naming the file, be sure to leave out accents, numbers, spaces, hyphens and the following characters: / & , . – : \ ( ) * # ; @

Minimum Necessary Income Requirement

The Interest to Sponsor form also requires potential sponsors to confirm that they meet the Minimum Necessary Income requirements for supporting their parents and grandparents.

While there is no requirement to prove they have the required income at the Interest to Sponsor stage, potential sponsors who are invited to apply and their co-signers (if applicable) will have to provide Notices of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency for each of the three taxation years immediately preceding the date of their application.

To confirm that they meet the Minimum Necessary Income requirement, interested sponsors will have to determine their family size, which includes all the people they’ll be financially responsible for once they become a sponsor.

Family size includes:

  • the interested sponsor;
  • their spouse or common-law partner;
  • their dependent children;
  • their spouse’s or partner’s dependent children;
  • any other person the interested sponsor may have sponsored in the past, for whom they’re still financially responsible;
  • the parents and grandparents they want to sponsor and their dependents (spouse or partner and dependent children);
  • any dependent children who won’t come to Canada with their parents or grandparents;
  • their parent or grandparent’s spouse or partner, even if they won’t come to Canada;
  • their parent or grandparents’ separated spouse.
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