Procedures for processing de facto dependants

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Government-assisted refugee (GAR) and Joint assistance sponsorship (JAS)

Process abroad-visa office

  1. The visa office receives referral from the UNHCR of a case involving a principal applicant (PA) and a minor in which the minor does not meet the definition of family member but is considered to be an integral part of the PA’s family unit.
  2. At the interview, the visa officer is satisfied that the relationship between the minor and the PA is a bona fide de facto dependent relationship. Any concerns about the child’s safety should be noted on the file for protection purposes by the provincial authorities in Canada.
  3. The visa officer consults the minor about their prospective resettlement solution. The minor is given the opportunity to express their views regarding the arrangements being made for them. These views should be noted on the file.
  4. The PA is informed that as guardian of the child they will be expected to ensure the care and protection of the child until they reach the age of majority. The PA is encouraged to legalize the guardianship relationship once in Canada. Information on how to initiate this process will be available once they arrive.
  5. The visa office has the PA sign the Acknowledgment of Responsible Adult Form [IMM 5590] indicating that they understand their responsibilities as guardian of the minor.
  6. The visa officer creates separate files for the de facto dependants. All files are linked to the PA and are processed together.
  7. The visa office flags, in the subject line, the PA’s file as having de facto dependants (specifically a separated minor) when the destination matching request (DMR) or the request for a JAS is forwarded to the Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O). If there are any concerns for the child’s safety, the officer makes sure that they are brought to the attention of child welfare authorities in Canada.
  8. The visa office flags, in the subject line, the PA file as having de facto dependants (specifically separated minors) during the NAT process, where applicable.

In-Canada Process-NHQ / ROC-O

  1. Through the DMR process, the ROC-O will inform the local IRCC office that a case will be arriving with de facto dependants. For JAS, the case will be posted on the JAS Web site so an appropriate sponsor may be found. Details indicating that the family includes de facto dependants and that the family will rely on the sponsor for help in following through with the process to become a legal guardian will be forwarded to the local Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office when potential sponsors inquire.

Local IRCC office - GAR

  1. checks for contact information for the province where the PA and minor will reside.
  2. informs the provincial director of child welfare that there is a de facto minor arriving in their province.
  3. makes sure to specify if the DMR indicates any concern for the child’s safety.
  4. informs the RAP service provider that a family will be arriving with a de facto dependant.
  5. forwards guardianship information to the RAP service provider for use during the orientation.

Local IRCC office - JAS

  1. checks for contact information for the province where the PA and minor will reside.
  2. provides the sponsor with the guardianship information relevant to the province where the PA and the de facto dependent minor will reside.
  3. ensures that the sponsor understands they have a role in assisting the PA follow through with the guardianship process.
  4. confirms the sponsorship undertaking.
  5. instructs the visa office and the ROC-O to proceed with the case.
  6. informs the provincial director of child welfare that there is a de facto minor arriving in their province. The local IRCC will specify if the JAS request indicates any concern for the child’s safety and let them know that the case is receiving support from a private sponsor.

Arrival of the minor-RAP service provider

Once the PA and the minor have arrived, the RAP service provider:

  1. reminds the PA of their guardianship responsibilities until the minor reaches the age of majority in that province;
  2. provides the necessary guardianship information and encourages them to start the guardianship process for that province;
  3. if there is any suspicion about the safety of the child, the RAP service provider informs the local IRCC office office immediately so that appropriate child welfare authorities can be informed accordingly.

Monitoring/Tracking

Local IRCC office

  1. The local IRCC office will conduct a monitoring interview with 100% of the cases (as part of their regular monitoring requirements) 7 months after their arrival. This will include a reminder to the PA of the importance in following through with the guardianship process. Where necessary, the RAP officer will re-supply the PA with the guardianship information and encourage the PA to start the guardianship process.
  2. If there are any concerns regarding the safety of the child, the local IRCC office checks the Intranet for information on how to report abuse in that province.
  3. The Settlement Program worker should be made aware of the guardianship issues related to the family and should reinforce the importance of initiating the guardianship process.
  4. The local IRCC office updates the ROC-O (cc Regional Headquarters) once the monitoring interview has been completed and the file is closed.

Privately sponsored refugees (PSR)

Receiving an Undertaking

Local IRCC office

  1. Where the family composition for the undertaking consists of de facto dependants, the local IRCC office confirms with the sponsor that they will be expected to assist the PA in following through with the responsibility to take on legal guardianship once they arrive in Canada.
  2. The local IRCC office checks for contact information for the province where the PA and minor will reside.
  3. The local IRCC office provides the sponsor with the guardianship information relevant to that province.

Process abroad

Visa office

  1. Once the undertaking is received at the visa office, the visa officer must be satisfied that the relationship between the PA and the minor is a bona fide de facto dependent relationship.
  2. At the interview, the visa officer is assured that the relationship between the minor and the PA is a bona fide de facto dependent relationship. Any concerns about the child’s safety should be noted on the file for protection purposes by the provincial authorities in Canada.
  3. The visa officer consults the minor about their prospective resettlement solution. The minor is given the opportunity to express their views regarding the arrangements being made for them. These views should be noted on the file.
  4. The PA is informed that as guardian of the child, they will be expected to ensure the care and protection of the child until they reach the age of majority. The PA is encouraged to legalize the guardianship relationship once in Canada. Information on how to initiate this process will be available once they arrive.
  5. The visa office will have the PA sign the Acknowledgement of Responsible Adult Form [ÎMM 5590] indicating that they understand their responsibilities as guardian of the minor at the time of the interview.
  6. The visa officer creates separate files for the de facto dependants. All files are linked and processed together.
  7. The visa office flags, in the subject line, the PA file as having de facto dependants (specifically separated minors) during the NAT process. If there are any concerns for the child’s safety, they should be brought to the attention of child welfare in Canada.

Local IRCC office

  1. If not done previously, the local IRCC office will check for contact information for the province where the PA and minor will reside. It ensures the sponsor has this information.
  2. The local IRCC office informs the provincial director of child welfare that there is a de facto minor arriving in their province. It makes sure to specify if the NAT indicates any concern for the child’s safety.
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