Sponsorship is not just restricted to spouses or children.

Occasionally a sponsored spouse may have an elderly relative or a member of the extended family living with them. They naturally want to have that person immigrate as well, but they do not fit the legal definition of a dependent.

CIC describes such individuals as “…a son, daughter (over age 19), brother or sister left alone in the country of origin without family of their own; an elderly relative such as an aunt or uncle or an unrelated person who has resided with the family for a long time. Also included may be children in a guardianship relationship when adoption is not possible.

The only method to include such an ineligible family member is through a humanitarian application and asking CIC that the person be considered a de facto family member. The degree of dependence is the most important aspect for success in such an application, a dependence that must be physical, emotional, financial and social. There can be no independence shown at all since it will diminish the core of a de facto relationship.

CIC lists the following criteria for de facto assessment:

  • whether dependency is bona fide and not created for immigration purposes
  • the level of dependency
  • the stability of the relationship
  • the duration of the relationship
  • the possible impact of a separation
  • the financial and emotional needs of the applicant in relation to the family unit
  • the ability and willingness of the family in Canada to provide support
  • the applicant’s other options, such as family (spouse, children, parents, siblings, etc.) outside Canada able and willing to provide support
  • documentary evidence about the relationship (e.g., joint bank accounts or real estate holdings, other joint property ownership, wills, insurance policies, letters from friends and family)
  • whether the applicant would have difficulty meeting financial or emotional needs without the support and assistance of the family unit.

To ensure that the level of dependency is met, the more documentation that can be provided to enhance the above criteria, the better are the chances of including the person as a de facto dependent.