October 5, 2020—Ottawa—The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced details for the opening of the 2020 Parents and Grandparents (PGP) Program, building further on the government’s commitment to reuniting families.
Over a 3-week period, from 12 p.m. EDT on October 13, 2020, to 12 p.m. EST on November 3, 2020, Canadians and permanent residents who wish to sponsor their parents and grandparents to come to Canada will have an opportunity to submit an interest to sponsor form online.
In order to ensure a fair, transparent and equal opportunity for applicants, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will randomly select potential sponsors and send them an invitation to submit an application. Selected applicants will have 60 days to submit their application.
Accommodation is available to persons with disabilities who are unable to use the online form. They can request the interest to sponsor form in an alternative format (paper copy, Braille or large print) by contacting the IRCC Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100 or by email until November 3, 2020.
Given that many sponsors may have been financially impacted by the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC is introducing a temporary public policy that will reduce the income requirement for the 2020 tax year to the minimum necessary income, instead of the minimum necessary income plus 30%.
The government knows how important it is for families to be together, particularly during difficult times. The launch of the 2020 Parents and Grandparents Program builds on the government’s initiatives to prioritize the approval of 49,000 family sponsorship applications by December 31, 2020, as well as last week’s announcement of a process to reunite more families and approve compassionate cases within the current border restrictions.
A maximum of 10,000 applications will be accepted for processing as part of the 2020 PGP intake. In 2021, IRCC will open a new intake of interest to sponsor forms to accept a total of 30,000 new applications.
Ministerial Instructions with respect to the processing of applications for a permanent resident visa made by parents or grandparents of a sponsor as members of the family class and the processing of sponsorship applications made in relation to those applications
Temporary public policy concerning applications for permanent residence as a member of the family class whose sponsor must meet a minimum income requirement in 2020
A person who wishes to become a permanent resident as a member of the family class must submit an application to the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (the Department) and must meet all criteria established in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the Regulations). In the case of parents and grandparents and certain other members of the family class, whose sponsor resides outside Quebec, their sponsor must meet a minimum income requirement specified in the Regulations.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in March 2020 in Canada, has caused serious financial challenges for Canadians and permanent residents, even as the re-opening of the economy has begun. Many businesses had to cease operations temporarily due to emergency orders that restricted people from coming into close contact. Many unemployed individuals were and are eligible for Employment Insurance regular benefits or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, some of which may be paid out under the Employment Insurance Act (EIA).
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the income requirement for tax year 2020 will be more difficult for some sponsors to meet. This could result in otherwise eligible permanent residence applicants having their application refused, including both current and future applicants in the family class whose sponsor must meet a minimum income requirement.
Public Policy Considerations
Given the challenges faced by current and future sponsors, and the impact this will have on applicants during this time, this public policy will ensure that applicants whose sponsors would have otherwise been approved are not unfairly impacted by these unprecedented events. The public policy will exempt certain permanent residence applicants from the requirement that their sponsor must meet all of the requirements of the Regulations for the 2020 taxation year. As a result, foreign nationals applying for permanent residence as parents and grandparents, members of the family class, will be exempted from the requirement to have a sponsor who meets the requirement to have the minimum necessary income plus 30%, as long as the sponsor meets the minimum necessary income defined in section 2 of the Regulations, as well as all the applicable requirements including those pertaining to the other relevant taxation years.
In addition, sponsors of all family class applicants whose sponsor must meet income requirements will be able to count regular Employment Insurance benefits in their income calculations rather than just special Employment Insurance benefits for 2020.
As such, I hereby establish that, pursuant to my authority under section 25.2 of the Act, there are public policy considerations that justify the granting of an exemption, from the below specified requirements of the provisions of the Act and the Regulations, to foreign nationals who meet the conditions listed below.