Family sponsorship programs allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents to bring their loved ones to Canada. While sponsors may focus on the goal of reuniting with family, it is important to note that sponsoring a family member comes with significant financial responsibilities.
The Undertaking Period
When you agree to sponsor a family member, spouse or common-law partner to Canada, you sign a legal agreement known as the undertaking. This undertaking is a commitment to provide financial support for the basic needs of the sponsored individual for a specified period. The duration of this undertaking period depends on the relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored person.
Length of Undertaking
Spouses, Conjugal Partners, and Common-Law Partners: The financial responsibility for spouses and common-law partners is typically 3 years from the day the sponsored individuals become permanent residents.
- Parents and Grandparents: If you are sponsoring your parents or grandparents, the financial responsibility period is 20 years from the day they become permanent residents.
- Dependent Child Under 22 Years of Age: The length of the undertaking is 10 years from the day the child (or the dependent child of your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner) becomes a permanent resident, or until they turn 25 years old – whichever comes first.
- Dependent Child Over 22 Years of Age: The length of the undertaking is 3 years from the day your dependent child (or the dependent child of your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner) becomes a permanent resident.
What are my Financial Obligations?
As a sponsor, your financial support includes providing for the basic needs of the sponsored person. This encompasses shelter, clothing, food, utilities, and other necessities. During the undertaking period, the sponsored individuals cannot rely on social assistance.
There are certain circumstances which may affect the duration of the financial responsibility of the sponsor:
- Divorce or Relationship Breakdown: If your relationship with a sponsored spouse or partner breaks down during the undertaking period, the sponsor’s financial responsibility remains unchanged.
- Death of the Sponsor or Sponsored Person: If either the sponsor or the sponsored individual passes away during the undertaking period, the financial responsibility no longer applies.
Repayment of Social Assistance
If the person you sponsored receives social assistance during the undertaking period, you are obligated to pay back the amount that they received during the time that you were legally responsible for them. Importantly, you also will not be able to sponsor any other person until you have fully repaid the amount.
Permanent Residency and Independence
After the undertaking period expires, the sponsored individuals become permanent residents of Canada and are considered independent. The sponsor is no longer financially responsible for the sponsored person.
Understanding your financial responsibilities when sponsoring a family member to Canada is crucial. The financial undertaking is both a legal obligation and a commitment to supporting your loved ones during their transition to life in Canada.
The potential sponsor must understand the financial responsibility associated with sponsoring a family member. Open communication with the sponsored individual about the duration and terms of the undertaking can contribute to a smoother transition and a successful start to their new life in Canada.
How Can We Help
The Immigration Law Firm of Matthew Jeffery specializes in these types of cases with a high success rate, helping clients bring their loved ones to become permanent residents of Canada. Fill out our free Family Sponsorship Assessment form to see if we can help you.