Operational Bulletin 350 - November 4, 2011

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Fourth Set of Ministerial Instructions: Temporary Pause on Family Class Sponsorship Applications for Parents and Grandparents


Effective November 5, 2011, a temporary pause has been placed on new Family Class sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents (FC4). Instructions are provided on what to do with FC4 sponsorship applications received before and after this date.


This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides guidance on FC4 sponsorship applications and the fourth set of Ministerial Instructions (MI-4) which come into force November 5, 2011.


On June 18, 2008, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was amended to give the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration authority to issue instructions that would ensure the processing of applications and requests be conducted in a manner that, in the opinion of the Minister, will best support the attainment of immigration goals set by the Government of Canada.

The MI-4 comes into force on November 5, 2011 and includes changes to the following programs:

  • Family Class Sponsorship Applications: A temporary pause on new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents.
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program: Introduction of a new PhD eligibility stream (see OB 351 for more information).

The full text of these instructions can be found at:

Processing Instructions

Effective November 5, 2011, no new family class sponsorship applications for a sponsor’s parents (R117(1)(c)) or grandparents (R117(1)(d)) will be accepted for processing. This temporary pause is being implemented to allow for application backlog reduction in the FC4 category to begin in 2012. This measure is being implemented as part of a broader strategy to address the large backlog and wait times in the FC4 category, supporting the attainment of immigration goals set by the Government of Canada.

The temporary pause will remain in place for up to 24 months while a more responsive, sustainable, and long-term approach for the program is being considered.

It does not affect sponsorship applications for spouses, partners, dependent or adopted children and other eligible relatives.

Applications received on or after November 5, 2011

New FC4 Sponsorship applications for parents or grandparents received by Centralized Processing Centre- Mississauga (CPC-M) on or after November 5, 2011, will be returned to the sponsor with a letter (see Appendix A) advising them of the temporary pause. Applications which are postmarked before November 5, 2011, but are received at CPC-M on or after November 5, 2011 will also be returned to the sponsor. In both cases, processing fees shall be returned.

Applications received before November 5, 2011

Complete FC4 sponsorship applications received by CPC-M prior to close of business (5 p.m. EST) on November 4, 2011, should continue to be processed as usual. Cases where FC4 sponsorship applications have been submitted to CPC-M, but the applications for permanent residence have not yet been submitted to the visa office are not affected by the temporary pause.

Cost recovery fee payment made before November 5, 2011

In cases where an applicant has submitted their cost recovery fee payment but CPC-M has not received the FC4 sponsorship application before close of business (5 p.m. EST) on November 4, 2011, the applicant will receive a refund of the processing fees.

Humanitarian and Compassionate Requests

Requests made on the basis of Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds made from outside Canada that accompany any permanent resident application affected by Ministerial Instructions but not identified for processing under the Instructions will not be processed.

Updates to the IP 2 manual are forthcoming.

For further information outlined in this OB, please contact your supervisor or your Regional Program Advisor (RPA). RPAs may in turn contact Operational Management and Coordination Branch at OMC-GOC-Immigration@cic.gc.ca.

Appendix A

Dear Madam/Sir,

We have received your application to sponsor a parent or grandparent to come to Canada. The date-received stamp on your application shows it was received at the Case Processing Centre – Mississauga (CPC-M) on or after November 5, 2011.

Effective November 5, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has temporarily stopped accepting new applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents. Only applications to sponsor parents and grandparents received before November 5, 2011, will be processed at CPC-M. This temporary pause in accepting new applications will continue until further notice. For additional information, please visit our website at: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=635499

As a result of this temporary pause, we are returning your application and any supporting documents you have submitted. No record of your application has been kept on file.

If you have paid your fees online, the fees will be refunded directly to your credit card. If you paid your fees at a financial institution and have an original payment receipt form (IMM 5401), you will be issued a refund by mail. Please allow up to 16 weeks for the delivery of your refund.

Although you may not apply to sponsor your parent or grandparent for immigration to Canada at this time, effective December 1, 2011, a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa will be available to those who qualify. For additional information about visiting Canada, please refer to our website at: www.cic.gc.ca.


Case Processing Centre – Mississauga

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

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