Feb 22, 2019 – Canada’s federal government could face lawsuits over the controversial handling of the Parents and Grandparents Program.
Applicants are claiming discrimination based on ability to type, knowledge of computers, language ability and access to a fast and reliable internet connection after the PGP opened for interest to sponsor forms on January 28, 2019.
Lawyers say they may have a case under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
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The controversy surrounds Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s decision to introduce a new system for deciding the 20,000 PGP applications to be received in 2019.
The interest to sponsor form was opened at noon EST on January 28 for a limited number of forms to be submitted, with invitations to apply to be issued in the order forms were received.
Officials say 27,000 forms were received in minutes, with thousands of potential sponsors failing to complete the form in time, and many finding they never had access.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has since said more than 100,000 people tried to access and complete the form.
IRCC officials said there were no technical issues, despite the growing number of complaints being received, saying the new system turned the program into a typing contest.
Officials moved to change the system in response to complaints about the method used for the last two years.
Under the previous method, interest to sponsor forms were submitted during a month-long window in January, with candidates drawn at random to complete full applications.
New Parents and Grandparents Program Process
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 the 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.