IRCC Minister Transition Binder 2021: Family Reunification


Canada’s robust Family Reunification Program helps attract highly skilled economic immigrants.

Current Program

The Family Reunification Program typically represents 27%Footnote1 of all permanent immigration to Canada; but this figure does not include accompanying family members admitted through other permanent resident programs (e.g. economic and refugee programs).

The Program supports the reunification of separated, pre-existing families

Family formation is also facilitated. For example:

Family Reunification Program Admissions 2010 to 2020

Year Sponsored Family Total Family Class as a % of Total Immigration
2010 65,552 23%
2011 61,332 25%
2012 69,871 27%
2013 83,377 32%
2014 67,647 26%
2015 65,489 24%
2016 78,000 26%
2017 82,468 29%
2018 85,169 27%
2019 91,307 27%
2020 49,295 27%

Program criteria is centred on the relationship to a sponsor, rather than human capital considerations

A Sponsor…

Two core categories

Spouses, Partners, and Children

Measures for victims of family violence: Since 2019, spouses/partners in Canada who have submitted an application as a sponsored spouse/partner and are experiencing abuse on the part of their sponsor may apply for a temporary resident permit (TRP) and/or expedited humanitarian and compassionate permanent resident (PR) application.

Parents and Grandparents

Super Visa: Since 2011, parents and grandparents may access a special temporary resident visa valid for up to 10 years that allows stays in Canada of up to 2 years at a time. 


Spouses and Partners


Economic Outcomes

Non-Economic Outcomes


Spouses and Partners


Economic Outcomes

Non-Economic Outcomes


COVID-19 Impacts and Responsive Measures

The pandemic negatively impacted processing and admissions in 2020. Sponsors and stakeholders continue to press the Department for updates on processing.

Family Class Admissions vs. Targets, 2019 and 2020
Year Program Admission Admission Targets
2019 Parents & Grandparents 22,010 20,500
Spouses, Partners & Children 68,806 68,000
2020 Parents & Grandparents 10,462 21,000
Spouses, Partners & Children 36,351 70,000

Recent Developments

Parents & Grandparents:

Spouses & Partners:

Key Takeaways

Important Next Steps – Parents and Grandparents:

Annex A: Overview of family immigration in Canada

Family immigration In 2020: 109,027 (59% of total PR admissions of 184,594)

Family reunification

Under the Family Reunification Program (FRP):

Accompanying family

Under immigration programs other than the FRP:

Accompanying family members represent:

Family formation

Under the Family Reunification Program (FRP):

Spouses and partners:

International adoptions

Under Family Reunification Program (FRP):

Data based on 2020 admissions.

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