Press Room

Wider Sponsorship Bar In Force for Sponsors Convicted of Violent Offences

Effective November 18, 2011, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) has been amended to expand the scope of the sponsorship bar for would-be sponsors convicted of offences involving violence. In particular, the bar now extends to offences resulting in “bodily harm” committed by would-be sponsors against a broader range of relatives and family members and, in the case of serious violent offences, precludes family sponsorship regardless of who the would-be sponsor committed the offence against.

Under the IRPR, Canadian citizens and permanent residents are barred from sponsoring a member of the Family Class if they have been convicted in or outside Canada of either (i) an offence of a sexual nature against any person, or (ii) an offence that results in “bodily harm” against certain listed members of their family, as well as any attempt or threat to commit such offences. For an offence of the latter type, the listed relationships prior to the amendments now in force were restricted to:

  • a “relative” (related by blood or adoption) or “family member” (spouse, common-law partner, dependent child, dependent child of a dependent child) or conjugal partner of the sponsor; and
  • a relative or family member of the sponsor’s spouse, common-law or conjugal partner.

Among other circumstances not covered by the above listed relationships was the situation where the would-be sponsor had committed an offence causing bodily harm against the spouse or common-law partner of a blood relative. According to Citizenship and Canada (CIC), this “gap” in the regulation was highlighted by a 2008 Federal Court decision in which the Court held that a Canadian citizen convicted in India of killing his brother’s wife was not barred under the IRPR from sponsoring his own wife.

Under the amended provisions, would-be sponsors will now be barred from sponsorship if they have been convicted of an offence that results in bodily harm, or an attempt or a threat to commit such an offence, against the following expanded list of persons:

  1. a current or former family member of the sponsor,
  2. (b) a relative of the sponsor, as well as a current or former family member of that relative,
  3. a relative of the family member of the sponsor, or a current or former family member of that relative,
  4. a current or former conjugal partner of the sponsor,
  5. a current or former family member of a family member or conjugal partner of the sponsor,
  6. a relative of the conjugal partner of the sponsor, or a current or former family member of that relative,
  7. a child under the current or former care and control of the sponsor, their current or former family member or conjugal partner,
  8. a child under the current or former care and control of a relative of the sponsor or a current or former family member of that relative, or
  9. someone the sponsor is dating or has dated, whether or not they have lived together, or a family member of that person.

The amendments have also expanded the scope of the sponsorship bar to include would-be sponsors who have been convicted in or outside Canada of an indictable (i.e. serious) offence against any person (i.e., not only those falling within the above expanded list) involving the use of violence and punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years, or an attempt to commit such an offence.

The sponsorship bar remains in effect until an individual convicted in Canada has received a pardon or been acquitted on appeal, or until five years have elapsed since the completion of an imposed sentence. For convictions outside Canada, the sponsorship bar is in effect until an individual has been acquitted on appeal, or until five years have elapsed since the completion of an imposed sentence, and the sponsor has demonstrated that they are rehabilitated.

For further information on the above amendments to the IRPR or on the process and requirements generally for sponsoring a member of the family class, please contact the immigration law specialists at Green and Spiegel LLP.