Notice – Parent and Grandparent Program: Balancing the demand

Updated on April 26 and May 8, 2017

Ottawa, April 25, 2017 – This year we introduced a new application intake process for the Parent and Grandparent Program. We did this to improve people’s access to the application process by making it more fair and transparent.

Between January 3, 2017, and February 2, 2017, interested sponsors first had to fill out an “Interest to Sponsor” web form. Just over 95,000 people completed the form. This demonstrates the popularity of the Parent and Grandparent Program. Of those, we randomly chose 10,000 sponsors and emailed them inviting them to submit their application. We also emailed everyone who wasn’t randomly selected to inform them of the results.

Why a limit on applications is necessary

Each year, the Department accepts a certain number of new and complete applications for the Parent and Grandparent Program. In 2016, the number was doubled – from 5,000 to 10,000. These 10,000 applications represent approximately 17,000 people, as a sponsorship application can include more than one person.

The Department has been making a concerted effort to process the existing backlog, which has dropped to around 41,500 persons by the end of 2016. Another factor that comes into play is the annual immigration levels plan which is currently set at 20,000 for Parents and Grandparents.

Number of applicants in the parent and grandparent backlog by year - Graph described below
Text version: Number of applicants in the parent and grandparent backlog by year
Year Number of applicants
2008 129,697
2009 138,512
2010 150,951
2011 167,007
2012 125,599
2013 87,027
2014 72,007
2015 50,661
2016 40,511

Supporting Canada’s economic and social growth through a balanced immigration levels plan

By November 1 of each year, the Government of Canada presents an immigration levels plan for the upcoming calendar year. The plan reflects the Government’s key priorities for immigration by setting the number of permanent residents it plans to admit overall and through the various immigration categories and programs.

In 2017, the Government plans to welcome 300,000 new permanent residents. This is the same historically high level of admissions as in 2016. This plan is designed to contribute to Canada’s economic growth and to support diverse, vibrant and dynamic communities. To develop the immigration levels plan, we consult with provinces and territories and talk with stakeholders and the general public. In addition, we consider things like our ability to process applications, program demand, and Canada’s ability to help support newcomers once they arrive.

A key objective of the 2017 immigration levels plan is to reunite families more quickly. This is why the Government increased planned admissions in the Family Class for the second year in a row. This year, Canada intends to welcome 84,000 people through family sponsorship – the highest planned levels for family reunification ever. Nearly a quarter of these spots (20,000) are for parents and grandparents.

As only a limited number of people can be welcomed in any given year, much effort is put into developing the best plan possible for the future of Canada while balancing the needs of Canadians today.

A responsible application intake process for parents and grandparents

Given that interest in the Parent and Grandparent Program greatly exceeds space in our levels plan, the annual 10,000 application limit is necessary to ensure the backlog doesn’t grow again. The limit ensures that new applicants have the chance to apply, while the levels plan for parents and grandparents ensures enough are processed each year so that processing times are reasonable and the backlog is further reduced.

This is why we introduced the random selection process. Just over 95,000 people completed the form to express their interest to sponsor their parent or grandparent. From these, we randomly selected 10,000 people and invited them to submit an application.

  • If you received an email saying you’re invited to apply, you have 90 days from the date the email was sent to you to send your complete application to us using the 2017 application package. If you don’t send us your application within the 90 days, you won’t be able to apply again this year.
  • If you received an email saying you’re not invited to apply, you’ll have the opportunity to show your interest to sponsor your parent or grandparent again in 2018. If you want your parent or grandparent to visit you in Canada for an extended period of time, you also have the option to apply for a super visa.
  • If you completed an online submission form but didn’t receive an email:
    • Make sure to check the same email account you used on the submission form.
    • Check the junk mail folder.
    • If you still haven’t received an email by May 8, 2017, please let us know.

We will continue to uphold the Government’s commitment to family reunification in the fairest way possible.

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