The popularity of the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) grew yet again in March in tandem with Canada’s rising immigration levels, reveals the latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In the first three months of this year, the PGP welcomed 6,760 new permanent residents to Canada, up 1,480 or 28 per cent more than the 5,280 during the comparable period last year.
That growth in the PGP matches almost exactly the 27.7 per cent growth in overall immigration during the first quarter of this year when Canada welcomed 145,330 new permanent residents, up from 113,800 for the same three months last year.
Perhaps more revealing of the upward trend of the PGP are the increasing numbers of parents and grandparents getting their permanent residency every month during the first quarter of this year even as overall monthly immigration numbers softened.
After welcoming 2,065 new permanent residents in January, a month that saw a total of 50,905 immigrants in Canada, the monthly number of PGP arrivals grew to 2,265, a bump up of 9.7 per cent, despite a slight drop in overall immigration in February. During that month, Canada welcomed 49,645 new permanent residents.
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Then, in March, as overall immigration slid to 44,780 new permanent residents, the monthly number of arrivals under the PGP rose once more, this time by 6.6 per cent, to hit 2,415.
Based on the number of new permanent residents who have come to Canada under the PGP in the first quarter, the country could see up to 27,040 parents and grandparents gain their permanent residency here under the program by the end of this year.
Ontario, the country’s most populous province, received the biggest share of the new PGP arrivals, 3,185 new permanent residents in the first three months of this year or 47.1 per cent of the total so far this year.
The second most popular destination in Canada for parents and grandparents arriving under the PGP in the first three months of this year was Alberta. That Prairie province welcomed 1,265 of these new permanent residents during the first quarter of this year. British Columbia welcomed 1,200.
Ontario Attracted The Most PGP Newcomers, Saskatchewan The Least In Q1
The francophone province of Quebec saw 555 new permanent residents through the PGP and all of the four Atlantic Canadian provinces combined, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, took in another 70 of these parents and grandparents during the first three months of this year.
In the remaining two Prairie provinces, there were 265 new permanent residents through the PGP in Manitoba and another 215 in Saskatchewan during the first two months of this year.
With Ottawa’s much-higher immigration targets for the coming years, there’s little doubt the PGP numbers will continue to climb throughout the remainder of this year.
In its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, Ottawa has set the target for 2023 at 465,000 new permanent residents. The country is to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and another 500,000 in 2025.
That’s a total of 1.45 million immigrants to Canada over the coming three years.
Under the PGP, applicants pay $1,050 to sponsor a parent or grandparent and the process takes up to 39 months, with the people being sponsored required to provide biometrics after they apply. That processing time includes the time to provide those biometrics.
Once a Canadian citizen or permanent resident has submitted an interest in sponsoring these relatives, he or she is sent an Invitation to Apply (ITA0 and must then submit two applications to the PGP:
- the sponsorship application, and;
- the permanent residence application.
If those applications get the green light, the sponsor signs an agreement called an undertaking which starts on the day the sponsoree becomes a permanent resident of Canada.
PGP Sponsors Must Be Adult Canadian Residents
Among the several requirements which need to be met to determine eligibility to sponsor a parent or grandparent, are:
- a receipt of an Invitation to Apply;
- being at least 18 years old;
- Canadian residency;
- being a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act;
- sufficient funds to support the parent or grandparent;
- proof of income, although a spouse or common-law partner can co-sign to combine their income with that of the sponsor, and;
- meeting all other requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
All sponsors living outside of the province of Quebec, which has its own immigration system, must promise to financially support the sponsorees for a period of time.
This undertaking commits the sponsor to:
- providing financial support for sponsored family members for 20 years, starting when they become permanent residents;
- repaying any provincial social assistance (money from the government) sponsored family members get during that time, and;
- agreeing to certain responsibilities during the undertaking period in a sponsorship agreement.
That sponsorship agreement means that the sponsor will provide the basic needs of the sponsoree, including:
- personal requirements;
- household supplies, and;
- healthcare not covered by public health insurance, such as eye and dental care.
Sponsorship Agreements Remain In Effect Even If Couple Divorces
The sponsorship agreement is not one to be entered into lightly as it obliges the sponsor to meet those requirements even in the case of:
- separation or divorce;
- family rifts;
- change in finances, and even;
- death of the main applicant.
Sponsors who live in Quebec must meet that province’s immigration sponsorship requirements after the IRCC approves of the sponsor. The length of the undertaking is 10 years for Quebec.
Due to the need for sponsors to accept responsibility for their parents and grandparents through sponsorship agreements under the PGP, past criminality and serious financial troubles can render a Canadian citizen or permanent resident ineligible for this program.
Applicants may not be eligible to sponsor their parents or grandparents if the sponsors:
- are in a jail, prison or penitentiary;
- didn’t pay back an immigration loan or performance bond;
- failed to make court-ordered family support payments such as alimony or child support;
- didn’t give the financial support specified under a sponsorship agreement to sponsor someone else in the past;
- declared bankruptcy and are not discharged;
- receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability;
- were convicted of a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence inside or outside Canada, or;
- can’t legally stay in Canada and must leave the country because they received a removal order.
The applicant cannot sponsor his or her spouse’s parents or grandparents, aka their in-laws, but can be a co-signer on that spouse’s application to bring to Canada his or her parents and grandparents.
The PGP program also does not allow a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor someone who is otherwise inadmissible to come to Canada.
The PGP is restricted to the applicant’s own parents and grandparents, related by blood or adoption.
IRCC Urges Applicants To Keep Their Information Current To Avoid Delays
“In case of divorce, you’ll need to submit separate applications if you sponsor divorced parents and grandparents,” notes the IRCC on its website. “If your divorced parents or grandparents have a current spouse, common-law partner or a conjugal partner, these people become dependants on the application and can immigrate to Canada with your parents and grandparents, if approved.”
A PGP application can include the sponsor’s own brothers and sisters, or half-brothers and sisters, or step-brothers and step-sisters – but only if they qualify as dependent children of the sponsor’s parents.
Delays in processing can quickly occur when the IRCC is faced with information which is no longer accurate and so Canadian immigration officials encourage applicants to keep their contact information and application details up to date.
Important information which must be updated includes:
- changes in relationship status;
- birth or adoption of a child;
- death of an applicant or dependant;
- contact information such as e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses.
The applicant is responsible for going into the application and updating it with this information him or herself.
“Don’t mail us changes to your contact or application information,” notes the IRCC. “If you do, we won’t acknowledge your request and we won’t update your application.”
Canadian immigration officials notify applicants under the PGP as soon as they begin to process the application, sending them both an application number and an acknowledgement of receipt of the application.
The IRCC then assesses both the applicant’s eligibility as a sponsor and the person being sponsored for permanent residence.
“If we refuse you as a sponsor, you can choose to have us keep processing the application for permanent residence for your family members,” notes the IRCC.
Choosing to have the IRCC continue processing the application at that point means the sponsor forgoes all fees which have been paid.
By choosing to withdraw the application in the eventuality of being deemed ineligible to sponsor, the applicant can get all of his or her fees back, minus the $75 sponsorship fee.
Once Canadian immigration officials have approved a sponsor under the PGP, they then turn their attention to the people being sponsored to determine their eligibility under the program.
The IRCC will typically request documents from those being sponsored, including:
- medical exam results;
- police certificates, and;
Letters requesting that biometric information are sent to the parents or grandparents and their dependent children as named in the application and they then have 30 days to provide the biometric information at the closest collection point.