May 30, 2019 – Canada’s federal government awarded 70 places under the Parents and Grandparents Program to settle two lawsuits that said the online application system was unfair, a report says.
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.
The lawsuits are understood to have included a non-disclosure agreement, meaning those concerned are not allowed to divulge details.
Cases were filed in both Toronto and Vancouver.
Court documents from the Toronto lawsuit said: “The online registration process in both its design and implementation was arbitrary, capricious, procedurally unfair and unjust.”
Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office says the controversial system for registering interest is under review.
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The controversy stems from the new online first-come, first-serve process that opened on January 28, 2019.
Potential sponsors were asked to complete an ‘Interest to Sponsor’ form, which became available at noon on the opening date. It closed again eight minutes later.
Thousands say they could never access the form, while others complained they were able to open the form, but the application process was closed before they were able to submit it.
Complaints suggested the process discriminated against people who could not fill in the form quickly, or those with a slow internet connection.
The government said more than 100,000 tried to access the form when it was made live.
Now stakeholders are saying that awarding spots to those associated with lawsuits is unfair to those who either were unaware they existed or could not afford to join them.
CBC reports that a government official said the lawsuits were settled because the number of applicants was small and included people with disabilities. There were concerns the court proceeding could mean the whole set of applications was suspended.
Officials moved to change the system for 2019 in response to complaints about the lottery 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.
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.
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