As part of the family sponsorship process, the sponsor commits to support the sponsored person during a certain period after obtaining permanent residence. This applies regardless of the family member sponsored: spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, child, parent or grand-parent. The commitment is the same, the duration of the undertaking however varies.
What is the undertaking?
The undertaking is a promise to provide financial support and basic requirements for the family members you are sponsoring.
It is a contract signed by the sponsor and the government. In the case of Quebec, it is signed with the province, for all other provinces it is with the federal government.
The undertaking is an unconditional promise of support. The granting of Canadian citizenship, divorce, separation or relationship breakdown or moving to another province does not cancel the undertaking. The undertaking also remains in effect even if the financial situation of the sponsor deteriorates.
The sponsor’s obligations
The undertaking implies that the sponsor will repay the government for any social assistance payments made to the sponsored person. It does not mean that the sponsored person is not allowed to ask for social welfare, however the sponsor will have to reimburse all sums received from the date in which they become a permanent resident for the period of undertaking (see bellow).
Sponsors must provide for basic living requirements of the relative. If sponsored persons receive social assistance, sponsors are in default.
Therefore if the sponsored person collects government aid in the form of social assistance or special benefits (e.g., glasses, dental treatment, hearing aids), or if the person stays in a public long-term care facility, the amounts are to be reimbursed.
Basic requirements are:
- personal requirements
- household supplies
Basically the government wants to make sure that the sponsored family members will not be a financial burden to the host society.
All these obligations apply for both the sponsor and the co-sponsor (co-signer of the application).
The exact text of the undertaking can be read here (page 6).
Note that social services such as regular provincial medical insurance, child benefits, unemployment insurance or student loans and bursaries are not considered as part of the undertaking agreement.
Length of Undertaking
The obligations of the sponsor begin (with a few exceptions) when the family members obtain permanent resident status. The length depends on the relationship with the sponsor.
|Family member sponsored||Length of undertaking|
|Spouse or your common-law or conjugal partner||3 years|
|Dependent child or a dependent child of the spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and is 19 years of age or over on the day he or she becomes a permanent resident||3 years|
|Dependent child or a dependent child of your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and is under 19 years of age on the day he or she becomes a permanent resident||10 years after that child becomes a permanent resident or on the day that child reaches age 22, whichever comes first.|
|Dependent child or a dependent child of your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and is under 19 years of age on the day he or she becomes a permanent resident
||10 years after that child becomes a permanent resident or on the day that child reaches age 22, whichever comes first|
|Parents and grand-parents||20 years, and for all persons included in the sponsorship undertaking.|
Cancellation of an undertaking
Sponsors cannot withdraw the agreement unless the entire undertaking is withdrawn prior to visa issuance (for applicants abroad) or before permanent resident status is granted (for applicants in Canada).