2020-03-28 – Canada has delayed the opening of the 2020 Parents and Grandparents Program as it focuses on the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement issued on Friday, March 27, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said it had expected to launch the call for expressions of interest ‘in the coming weeks’.
“Given the present circumstances, however, we are prioritizing our efforts to contribute to the whole-of-government response to the pandemic,” the statement said.
IRCC says the delayed launch should not impact when parents and grandparents arrive in Canada. It said the processing of applications is ongoing.
“The Government of Canada remains strongly committed to family reunification, and IRCC is committed to opening the program as soon as possible,” IRCC said.
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The opening of the controversial program had already been delayed.
In December 2019, IRCC issued a statement saying the PGP would not open in January to allow more time for a new intake process to be developed.
The PGP application process has been highly controversial in recent years, given the huge number of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who wish to bring their relatives here.
In 2019, the IRCC employed an online first-come, the first-served process for submitting ‘Interest to Sponsor’ forms.
The form was available for only minutes when it went live on January 28, 2019, with many saying they were never able to see it.
IRCC says 100,000 people tried to access the form at the same time.
As a result, Canada’s federal government awarded 70 places under the program to settle two lawsuits that said the online application system was unfair.
The settlement, made in secret, saw members of the lawsuits allowed to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents to immigrate to Canada, according to a CBC News report.
Officials moved to change the system for 2019 in response to complaints about the lottery method used for the previous two years.
Under the previous method, interest to sponsor forms was submitted during a month-long window in January, with candidates drawn at random to complete full applications.
Parents and Grandparents Program: 2019 Process
Please note: A new process is expected for 2020 applications
Step 1: Potential sponsors indicate their interest
Eligible potential sponsors complete an ‘Interest to Sponsor’ form to let IRCC know they wish to sponsor their parents and grandparents. The form requires potential sponsors to upload a copy of a status in Canada document.
The form will remain available until a set number has been received.
Step 2: Invitations to sponsor are sent
Once the interest to sponsor period ends, IRCC will review the submissions and remove duplicates.
IRCC officials will then invite interested potential sponsors to submit a complete application to sponsor their parents and grandparents, in order interest to sponsor forms were received. This process will continue until the cap of 20,000 completed applications is reached.
Step 3: Applications are submitted
Those who are invited to apply have 60 calendar days for IRCC to receive their complete application. Those who submit an interest to sponsor form and receive a confirmation number, but do not receive an invitation to apply in 2019, will have their form retained by IRCC for consideration in 2020.