Canadian policy changes due to lottery system feedback

Jamaica To Canada

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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Dear Mr Brown,

I really want to sponsor my parents who reside in Jamaica, but I have heard that they are not using the lottery system anymore. Is this true?


Dear CMB:

The Government of Canada announced in August that the lottery system for family reunification would be replaced by a quota system later this month, which would admit up to 20,500 parents and grandparents per year. Ample notice is supposed to be given by the Government.

However, in the interim, interested applicants should be making preparations.

Parents and grandparents have been thought to strain the public health care system. However, having grandparents around to help new Canadian families look after young children has an economic value of its own.

Please note that in the past there have always been massive backlogs for parents and grandparents sponsorship. In the past, the annual quota has been filled within hours. To address the issue, a random lottery system was created, which was criticised for being unfair as it is alleged to be based on the Government being short-staffed to process all of the applications.

However, the Government rejected the suggestion that a lack of manpower dictates the application quotas, saying the number of immigrants Canada accepts each year is based on the annual Immigration Levels Plan.

The policy change is in response to the negative feedback regarding the lottery system. There was backlash from Canadian sponsors who wished to file for their parents, and who were frustrated by a lottery system that was perceived as:

•Lacking transparency;

•An unscientific lottery, based on luck, used to decide the reunification of loved ones;

•Plagued by fake or ineligible and multiple entries; and

•Underfunded, considering that Canada brings in tens of thousands of refugees.


The requirements to be a sponsor for parents and grandparents include:

•Being 18 years of age or older;

•Being a Canadian citizen, registered Indian or permanent resident;

•Sponsoring a member defined under the family class;

•Living in Canada;

•Signing an unconditional undertaking promising to provide for the basic requirements of the person being sponsored;

•Signing an agreement with your parent(s) that confirms that each of you understands your mutual obligations and responsibilities; and

• Proving sufficient income to provide the basic requirements for family members in Canada as well as the sponsored parent(s)/grandparent(s), whether as a single person or with a co-signer, if applicable (spouse or common-law partner).

Please visit for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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