Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino listens to speakers during a news conference in Ottawa on October 2, 2020. A popular immigration program that allows people to sponsor their parents or grandparents to come to Canada is reverting to a lottery system. Mendicino announced the relaunch of the parent and grandparent program today, saying it will open for applications on Oct. 13. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Lottery system for popular parent, grandparent visa program reinstated for this year

The government says it will accept only 10,000 applications for the program this year

A popular immigration program that allows people to sponsor their parents or grandparents to come to Canada is reverting to a lottery system.

Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced the relaunch of the parent and grandparent program Monday, saying a window for people to apply will open Oct. 13 and close on Nov. 3.

Potential sponsors will be selected at random from among the applicants and be invited to formally apply to sponsor their families.

The program ordinarily opens in January but was delayed this year as officials sought to revamp the system after a first-come, first-served approach buckled under excessive demand last year.

It took just eleven minutes for the maximum number of applications to be submitted and would-be sponsors also complained of trouble accessing the online portal or struggling to fill out the forms.

Before the first-come, first-serve online approach, a lottery system had been used. But that in turn led to widespread frustration that people’s efforts to bring their families to Canada were basically reduced to a game of chance.

The launch of a new system for this year was further delayed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a decision was made to revert to a lottery to get the program underway.

The government is also temporarily reducing how much money a person must earn in order to be able to sponsor, recognizing that many people may have seen their income drop due to the pandemic.

The government says it will accept only 10,000 applications for the program this year, down from the 27,000 accepted last year. But it pledged increase that to 30,000 next year.

“Now, more than ever, family reunification is an important component of Canada’s immigration system,” Mendicino said in a statement.

“It plays a key role in attracting, retaining and integrating the best and the brightest from around the world.”

Every element of Canada’s immigration system has been affected by the pandemic.

Borders slamming shut to slow the spread of the virus have left would-be newcomers stranded throughout the world both by forces in their home countries and due to the Canadian system needing to find ways to quickly move online in order to process applications.

Massive backlogs have been created, and it remains unclear how the system will get out from under those, as well as whether or how the government will adjust the number of newcomers it will accept next year based on how few were able to arrive this year.

The annual levels plan, as it is known, is ordinarily put forward by the government in the fall.

The one for this year — delayed by the 2019 federal election — sought to admit 341,000 people in 2020.

An updated one is due to be tabled by the end of October.

Kareem El-Assal, who oversees policy for CanadianVisa.com, said all signs point to a return to “business as usual” for immigration to Canada post-pandemic.

The launch of the updated parent program, ongoing acceptance of applications under the Express Entry economic program and a commitment in the throne speech to immigration suggest the government is going to try to press ahead with targeting over 300,000 new permanent residents a year, said El-Assal, who was the former head of immigration research for the Conference Board of Canada.

“That doesn’t mean they are physically going to come here any time soon,” he said.

“But they will.”

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Immigration

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A case of COVID has been detected within School District 33. (School District 33 photo)
UPDATE: Case of COVID confirmed at a Chilliwack school

Fraser Health has not informed parents but district sent letter to parents Friday

Record-low returns of salmon have been recorded on the Fraser River in recent years. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
Time for Indigenous-led salmon strategy on the Lower Fraser, says Alliance

‘Closures of First Nations, commercial and recreational salmon fishing’ have huge impact: LFFA

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region over the last week.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
CHARTS: Weekly COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in Fraser Valley

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region.

The City of Chilliwack says there’s too much spitting going on at the Sardis Sports Complex. (City of Chilliwack photo)
Too much spitting a problem at Chilliwack’s Sardis Sports Complex

The City of Chilliwack is asking the minor hockey community to ease up on expectorating

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’ making second Abbotsford court appearance on Monday

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
Hay bales can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Straw bales used for Halloween decor can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society

Langley animal facility said they are always need in of fresh bedding

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read