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

Vaccinations are set to resume in the small community of Tatchet, according to Lake Babine Nation’s Deputy Chief. (Black Press Media file photo)
Lake Babine Nation vaccine rollout resumes after a short pause

A COVID positive test within the care team had put the vaccinations on hold

Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween received one of the COVID-19 vaccines on the Southside, on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
COVID-19 vaccination begins in Burns Lake

Senior population, health care workers and First Nations among the first to get the vaccine

Sasquatch sighting. (Omineca Ski Club photo/Lakes District News)
Sasquatch on the loose at Omineca Ski Club

Head out to the trails to see if you can spot it; a tongue-in-cheek response from the club President

Two books in particular became quite popular at the start of the pandemic — Soap and Water Common Sense, The definitive guide to viruses’ bacteria, parasites, and disease and The Great Influenza, The story of the deadliest pandemic in history. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake Public Library lent 20,916 books in 2020

Gained 67 new patrons throughout the year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read