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

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

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

A Prince Rupert port expansion project received a $25 million investment from the provincial government, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Jan. 14. Seen here is Ridley Terminals Inc., a coal export terminal in Prince Rupert (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)
$25 million government investment in Prince Rupert port expansion project

Prince Rupert port expansion project expected to create more than 2,200 jobs

For the second time in less than a year, Air Canada announced on Jan. 13 it has suspended flights on the Prince Rupert-Vancouver route as of Jan 17. (Photo by: Jerold Leblanc)
Cessation of flights to YPR will affect the municipal economy and global trade, P.R. Mayor said

Chamber of Commerce said it will aggressively pursue the resumption of flights to Prince Rupert

Air Canada has suspended flights to Prince Rupert Regional Airport due to COVID-19 mitigation, the airline announced on Jan. 13. (Photo:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
YPR is not immune to plummeted air travel demands – 25 jobs lost

Prince Rupert Regional Airport flight cancellation will levee significant hardship - Rick Leach

Air Canada announced on Jan 13, that it is reducing operations by 25 per cent affecting flights into and from Prince Rupert.
Flights to Prince Rupert cancelled

Air Canada announced reduction in operation and more than 1,700 employees affected

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Screenshot from video.
2 students arrested in assault of transgender girl at Lower Mainland school

Mother says daughter was targeted because of how she identifies

Constable Ken Jaques broke a window and crawled into a home to rescue an elderly man who had be laying on the floor for days. Jaques was the officer who provided oversight for the 2020 Remembrance Day services and is shown here in a picture with his son. Photo Andrea DeMeer
Senior who fell and spent days lying on floor of home saved by Princeton cop

He broke the glass and crawled into the house, while calling for assistance from BC Ambulance

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
B.C. Coast Salish artist designs new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Most Read