Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has operated a lottery system for the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program since January 2017.

From 2019, the system will change to a first-come, first-served process.

Sponsors will still be required to complete an ‘interest to sponsor’ form during January, but instead of the IRCC drawing names at random, candidates will be invited to apply in the order they submit the form.

Those invited must submit a complete application within 90 days.

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To qualify to sponsor parents and grandparents, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident must meet, in addition to the general requirements for sponsorship, the following enhanced criteria:

  • Demonstrate, for a period of 3 consecutive years prior to sponsorship, income greater than the annual Minimum Necessary Income published by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada;
  • Sign an undertaking to financially support the parent or grandparent, and reimburse the government for any social assistance paid out to the relative, for a period of 20 years from the date of permanent residence;

To establish whether a sponsor meets the income requirements, the following rules apply:

  • Only official documents issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be accepted to demonstrate income for the three years prior to submission;
  • If a co-signer is included in the sponsorship application, the combined income of the co-signer and the sponsor will be considered;
  • Any amounts from the following sources will be deducted from the sponsor and co-signer’s income for the purposes of financial eligibility:
  • Provincial allowances received for a program of instruction or training;
    1. Social assistance received from a province;
    2. Financial assistance received from the Government of Canada under a resettlement program;
    3. Amounts received under the Employment Insurance Act, other than special benefits;
    4. Monthly guaranteed income supplement received under the Old Age Security Act;
    5. Canada child tax benefit received under the Income Tax Act;

In practice, the requirement to demonstrate past income through CRA issued documents means that new permanent residents to Canada will have to wait a minimum of 3 years from landing before being eligible to sponsor their parents and grandparents, unless they held temporary status in the country prior to receiving permanent resident status.

As well, the minimum required income must be met from the date on which the sponsorship application is signed until the day the sponsored family members become Canadian permanent residents.

Individuals who meet the above criteria, and also meet the general criteria for sponsoring family members, will be eligible to sponsor their parents and grandparents for Canadian permanent residence. Parents and grandparents of qualified applicants, who do not meet the annual application intake threshold, may continue to apply for temporary admission to Canada. Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents intending to obtain temporary residence to visit their close relatives may apply for extended visitors’ visas known as Super Visas.

Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.