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Understanding a Family Class Sponsorship Breakdown.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding a Family Class Sponsorship Breakdown."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding a Family Class Sponsorship Breakdown

2 We are not going to talk about  Family sponsorship applicants either in Canada or overseas waiting for their permanent resident to be issued.  Family reunification of Convention Refugees or Protected Persons because they are not considered family sponsors.


4 Who is a Sponsor?  established family relationship  have financial capacity  signed a Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking with CIC (a commitment to provide for the “basic requirements”)

5 Who is a Co-Signer? Another family member can help financially by co-signing the Sponsorship Agreement.  This person is the co-signer  has the same responsibilities as the sponsor.

6 Who is a Sponsored Family Member?  Spouse, common law or conjugal partner (including same-sex partner);  Dependant child 22 years or younger;  Dependant child older than 22 years, who is a full-time student or in some other way is dependent on you;  Parents; who received their permanent resident status in Canada only because a sponsor signed a Sponsorship Agreement

7 What is a Sponsorship Undertaking? A legal document  signed by sponsor and co-signer (if applicable)  as a commitment to the Government of Canada  to provide basic necessities for the sponsored family member(s).

8 What is a Sponsorship Agreement? The Sponsorship Agreement is a legal document signed by:  the sponsor, the co-signer (if applicable) and  the sponsored family member(s).

9 The sponsored family member(s) agrees:  to seek help from the sponsor if they are unable to provide for their own basic requirements.  consents to the release of information to the sponsor concerning social assistance. Sponsorship Agreement (cont’d)

10 What are “Basic Requirements”?  food,  clothing,  a place to live,  heat, utilities,  household supplies,  personal requirements and  health care not provided by public health including dental and eye care. (OHIP takes 3 months to kick in)

11 What is Ontario Works (OW)? Delivers income assistance to residents of Ontario who are in financial need (welfare)

12 What is the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)? Designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities who are in financial need.

13 What is the Overpayment Recovery Unit (ORU)? Established to collect outstanding social assistance debts from sponsors who have defaulted on their Sponsorship Agreement.

14 What is Sponsorship Breakdown? A sponsorship breakdown occurs  when the sponsor or co-signer refuse (or unable) to provide the basic requirements  The sponsored family member(s) starts to collect social assistance (under Ontario Works or ODSP). If they do not collect social assistance then it is not a sponsorship breakdown.

15 Sponsorship Default  While sponsor is repaying the social assistance payments to the Ontario government  Is not allowed to sponsor other family members until debt is repaid  Same criteria applies for H&C

16 What is the length of a Sponsorship? Depends on relationship: Spouse3 years Dependent child (<22 yrs.) 10 yrs. (or until 25 yrs.) Dependent child over 22 yrs. 3 years Parents10 years

17  On the day sponsored family member(s) receives the permanent resident document, (if done within Canada), or  On the day sponsored family member(s) enters Canada as a permanent resident (if done outside Canada.) When does Undertaking begin?


19 If conditions or circumstances of the sponsor change?  The Sponsorship Agreement cannot be cancelled or modified after sponsored family member receives permanent residence.  Bankruptcy: can’t sponsor another family member -- sponsorship default (lifelong ban)

20 What are consequences of a Sponsorship Breakdown for the Sponsor?  debt = amount of welfare given to sponsored family member  OW or ODSP will advise CIC  Can’t sponsor another family member(s) until debt is repaid

21 Consequences—Sponsor (cont’d)  OW or ODSP will refer case to the Overpayment Recovery Unit (ORU).  ORU informs sponsor by letter  Purpose of letter: how will sponsor provide for the sponsored family member(s), or when start the collection of your debt.

22  ORU will pursue the sponsorship debt: will refer the case to Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Refund Set-Off Program. The CRA can garnish (take over) any Income Tax refunds  ORU can take other steps e.g. court action Consequences—Sponsor (cont’d)

23  Credit record will be affected. E.g., application for a loan Note: If sponsor has been convicted of a sexual offence or an attempt/threat to commit a sexual offence, will not be eligible to sponsor again even if a sponsorship debt is repaid. Consequences—Sponsor (cont’d)

24 What happens to sponsored family member in a Sponsorship Breakdown? Applies to receive social assistance:  must try to get support from sponsor, except if breakdown caused by abuse and/or family violence.  Will receive the same amount from OW or ODSP as any other person on social assistance.  If receiving partial support the amount will be reduced.

25 What the rights of the Sponsor when there is Sponsorship Breakdown?  Immigration status is not affected  All rights and benefits to which sponsor is entitled are not affected

26 Sponsor can sponsor other relatives in the future:  if out of the sponsorship period,  Have repaid outstanding debts and  have not received social assistance for at least 12 months Rights as a sponsor (cont’d)

27 Can one withdraw their sponsorship obligations? If CIC has already issued a visa, or a family member(s) has already become a permanent resident, the sponsor cannot withdraw the sponsorship.

28 What can the sponsor do to resolve a sponsorship breakdown?  Make an offer of assistance so they will stop receiving welfare. This is not possible if abuse and/or family violence has caused the breakdown.  contact OW or ODSP to discuss the options and to remain informed.

29 To resolve a breakdown (cont’d)  Resume support or make arrangements to repay the debt.  partial support (debt will continue to accumulate)

30 To resolve a breakdown (cont’d)  If asked to pay back social assistance, sponsor may want to contact a community legal clinic for advice and help.

31 What can stop or postpone the collection of the sponsorship debt by the ORU?  The sponsor is deceased  The sponsor is incapacitated and unable to pay. E.g. in hospital  The sponsor has undergone bankruptcy  Third-party verification of domestic violence or abuse by the sponsor against the sponsored person or vice versa.

32 What stops collection (cont’)  The sponsor is receiving social assistance.  The sponsor’s net family income is below the Low Income Cut Off amount  The sponsor and co-signer (if applicable) are in receipt of Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

33 What stops collection (cont’)  The sponsor and co-signer (if applicable) have documented extraordinary circumstances. For example, the sponsor has a serious health condition along with high, ongoing drug costs.

34 What stops collection (cont’)  Collection may be deferred up to 12 months  But sponsorship debt continues to accrue until the end of the sponsorship period.

35 What happens after debt is paid?  The ORU will notify OW or ODSP that the debt has been repaid in full  The OW or ODSP office will send Confirmation of Repayment of Social Assistance Benefits to CIC to confirm the debt has been repaid in full  The ORU will send confirmation that the debt has been paid in full and that the file has been closed.

36 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, HELP AND REFERRALS  Immigrant Serving Organizations  211 Information & Referral Service  Community Legal Clinics  Assaulted Women ’ s Helpline  Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)  Overpayment Recovery Unit (ORU)


38 Implications of a Sponsorship Breakdown for a Sponsored Family Member (Sponsoree) If breakdown caused by lack of support from sponsor:  have the right to apply for welfare  try everything possible not to collect welfare including support from your sponsor (except in the case of abuse and/or family violence).

39 Implications for Sponsoree  If eligible, will receive welfare  same amount of benefits as any other person  If receive partial support from sponsor, or if employed, could get less from OW or ODSP

40 Implications for Sponsoree (cont’d) Can be found ineligible if:  unwilling to provide information about sponsor;  have not made reasonable efforts to pursue support from sponsor. Note: sponsor does not have the right to keep children or property. If there is a dispute, this will be resolved according to Family Law.

41 What happens with Permanent Resident Status if sponsorship breaks down? Will not lose their permanent resident status if sponsorship breaks down even if they need to apply for social assistance.

42 What are the rights of Sponsored family member  Status not affected  All rights and benefits are not affected  Right to apply for OW or ODSP.  Right to leave sponsor who is hurting, scaring or abusing them (even if spouse)  to sponsor relatives in the future if: sponsorship period is finished and not on welfare for at least 12 months

43 Rights of the sponsoree (cont’d)  The sponsor or co-signer cannot make them leave Canada.

44 What are responsibilities of a sponsored person in Canada?  To sign a “sponsorship agreement” with the sponsor.  To try and support themselves before seeking government support.

45 Exemptions from Pursuing Sponsorship Support Do not have to pursue financial support from sponsor where:  the sponsorship agreement is no longer in effect;  the sponsor is in receipt of Ontario Works, ODSP, Guaranteed Income Supplement under the Old Age Security Act or Gains-A;

46 Exemptions (cont’d)  the sponsor is deceased; or,  the sponsorship has broken down due to family violence verified by a third party and sponsoree has moved out of the sponsor’s home.

47 Implications of a Breakdown due to Abuse or Family Violence Abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, psychological, and economic. It includes assault and battery, constant threats, stalking, and psychological violence. All types of abuse have one thing in common — they create fear.

48 Abuse/family violence (cont’d)  May be forced to apply for social assistance (doesn’t have to ask sponsor for assistance)  Report any alleged incident of abuse and/or family violence in your application for OW or ODSP  Will have 3 months to establish the allegation

49 Abuse/family violence (cont’d) Can be confirmed by a letter from any of the following: Law Enforcement Officer Lawyer Teacher Medical Doctor Social Worker Social Service Worker Shelter Worker Member of the Clergy Guidance Counselor Victim Service Worker Settlement Services Worker Community Health Care Worker

50 Abuse/family violence (cont’d)  Additional time may be provided as required.  If confirmed, referral of the case to debt collection is deferred for up to 12 months.  CIC will register the default but no letters will be sent to sponsor by either CIC or Social Services.

51 Abuse/family violence (cont’d)  If abuse and/or family violence has been resolved, the case can be referred for debt collection.

52 Abuse/family violence (cont’d) For a minor under 16:  Children’s Aid Society will make a risk assessment.  Abandonment of a child could be considered abuse in itself and abandoning sponsor could be prosecuted.

53 Abuse/family violence (cont’d)  If sponsor has been convicted of a sexual offence or an attempt, threat to commit a sexual offence, she or he is not eligible to sponsor again even if the sponsorship debt is paid off.

54 Abuse/family violence (cont’d) Myths:  No rights during sponsorship period.  Must live with abusive sponsor/spouse  Can be deported, even if they are permanent residents

55 What if sponsor has the documents?  Can apply to CIC for a certified copy  Community worker can request the police to go to sponsor’s house with sponsoree for safety.

56 What can sponsoree do when there is abuse or family violence? Abuse and family violence are not accept- able in Canada and are considered a crime.  Seek legal advice.  In an emergency call 911.  Obtain crisis counselling, emotional support, and referrals to shelters for women: Assaulted Women’s Helpline

57 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, HELP AND REFERRALS  Immigrant Serving Organizations  211 Information & Referral Service  Community Legal Clinics  Assaulted Women ’ s Helpline  Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)  Overpayment Recovery Unit (ORU)

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