How do I demonstrate that my relationship with my spouse or partner is genuine?
One of the requirements of a spouse or partner sponsorship application is to prove that the relationship is genuine, and that the application is not simply intended to facilitate the immigration to Canada of the foreign spouse or partner.
In this regard, section 4 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations prohibits “bad faith” relationships:
4 (1) For the purposes of these Regulations, a foreign national shall not be considered a spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner of a person if the marriage, common-law partnership or conjugal partnership
(a) was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act; or
(b) is not genuine
The Immigration Appeal Division, which hears appeals from rejected sponsorship applications, has explained the meaning of section 4 of the Regulations in various decisions, including Augustin v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration),  I.A.D.D. No. 905,  D.S.A.I. no 905, where Member Patricia Greenside explained:
5 In determining whether the relationship was entered into primarily for immigration purposes, the focus is on the intention of one or both the spouses at the time of entering into the marriage. The marriage will be caught by section 4(1)(a) if one or both of the spouses’ primary purpose for entering into the marriage is to gain an advantage in immigration. The temporal element of the test is at the time of entering into the marriage and immigration purpose must be the primary purpose.
6 “Genuineness is revealed by a shared relationship of some permanence, interdependence, shared responsibilities and a serious commitment”. The genuineness of the marriage is based on a number of factors. They are not identical in every appeal as the genuineness can be affected by any number of different factors in each appeal. They can include, but are not limited to, such factors as: intent of the parties to the marriage, length of the relationship, amount of time spent together, conduct at the time of meeting, at the time of an engagement, and at the time of the wedding, behaviour subsequent to wedding, the level of knowledge of each other’s relationship histories, level of continuing contact and communication, the provision of financial support, the knowledge of and sharing of responsibility for the care of children brought into the marriage, the knowledge of and contact with extended families of the parties, as well as the level of knowledge of each other’s daily lives.
It can therefore be seen that the assessment of the genuineness of a marriage depends on various factors and the evidence provided by the applicant and his or her sponsor in the sponsorship application. No relationship is exactly the same so each case must be documented according to the evidence available. The main aim is to demonstrate to the immigration authorities’ satisfaction that the marriage or partnership is based on a real relationship that has developed over time, contains a solid commitment between the parties, and that there is every reason to believe that the relationship will be permanent in nature.