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Latest edition – January 2017

This edition of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Newsletter includes:

Family Reunification: Spousal Sponsorship and Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Program

Faster processing times for spouses and partners

On December 7, 2016, the Government announced that most spousal sponsorship applications will be processed within 12 months from the day they are received by IRCC. This represents a significant decrease from the 26-month processing time in 2016. IRCC will finish processing the majority of applications currently in the system by the end of December 2017.

A new application kit was also launched on December 15, 2016, which is simpler and easier to understand and use.

These changes apply to all applicants, whether they are in the outside-Canada family class or the spouse or common-law partner in-Canada class. More than 64,000 applicants are expected to benefit from these changes within the first year.

The Government is doing this by:

  • increasing funding to bring down the backlog and reduce processing times;
  • welcoming more spouses, partners and dependent children to Canada through increased admissions space in the annual immigration levels plan; and
  • processing cases faster, while maintaining program integrity. All applications will continue to receive full criminality, security and medical screening.

These important changes will help ease some of the uncertainty faced by Canadian citizens and permanent residents and their spouses and partners being sponsored for permanent residence.

Associated links

Changes to the application intake process for the 2017 Parent and Grandparent Program

Reuniting Canadian citizens and permanent residents with their parents and grandparents helps strengthen Canada’s social and cultural fabric.

On December 14, 2016, the Government announced changes to how applications will be accepted for the Parent and Grandparent Program in 2017. These changes will give the same chance to all individuals interested in applying to sponsor their parents or grandparents. The new process will also eliminate the January rush of sponsors submitting the full application package by courier or mail in order to meet the limit of 10,000 new applications accepted.

Under the new process this year, those wanting to bring their parents or grandparents to Canada will have 30 days to fill out an online form to indicate their interest. The form will be available on the IRCC website from January 3 to February 2, 2017.

After February 2, 2017, IRCC will randomly choose 10,000 individuals from those who submitted a form, and invite them to submit a complete application package using the updated application kit and guide. The 2017 application kit and guide will be available on IRCC’s website on January 9, 2017. Individuals can review it to get ready to apply if they are among those who are randomly chosen.

In recent years, IRCC has limited the number of applications it accepts under the Parent and Grandparent Program in an effort to manage the program and keep the backlog from growing.

The Government plans to admit 20,000 permanent residents through the Parent and Grandparent Program in 2017.

Associated Links

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Global Skills Strategy

On November 30, 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains announced the Global Skills Strategy. The goal of the Global Skills Strategy is to stimulate the economy and encourage the growth of good jobs for Canadians by helping employers create jobs that do not currently exist.

Canada’s Global Skills Strategy will make it faster for businesses in Canada to bring in the global talent and highly skilled experts they need to succeed, grow and flourish.

The Global Skills Strategy will:

  • establish an ambitious two-week standard for processing visas and work permits for high-skill talent for companies in Canada;
  • create a dedicated service channel for companies looking to make job-creating investments in Canada; and
  • drop the work permit requirement for very short-term work (for instance, 30 days or less) and brief academic stays.

The Global Skills Strategy will be implemented later in 2017.

Associated Links

Eliminating the four-year cumulative duration rule under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program

On December 13, 2016, a new public policy put an end to the “four-year cumulative duration rule” for persons working under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. This rule, which was put in place in 2011, stated that temporary foreign workers could work for a maximum of four years. They would then be ineligible to work in Canada for the next four years.

Eliminating the cumulative duration rule provides workers who have come to Canada temporarily the time they need to qualify and apply for permanent residence in Canada, should they want to stay permanently. It is also advantageous for Canadian employers, who will now be able to retain experienced workers for longer and fill labour shortages in certain industries if they are unable to find Canadians to fill available jobs.

Associated Links

Did you know...?

Did you know that IRCC has a self-service tool to find out if you might be a Canadian citizen? The tool is called “Am I a Canadian Citizen?” and it is available on our website. There are a few ways you can become a Canadian citizen without applying to be one. A chart is also available on our website that may help individuals find out if they already are a Canadian citizen. In these cases, they may still want to get proof of citizenship.

Note that this tool is for reference only. Applying for proof of Canadian citizenship is the formal way to find out if you are a citizen. If you apply for proof of citizenship, but you are not a citizen, the processing fee will not be refunded.

Visit our website for information and answers about Canadian citizenship.

IRCC feature video

The IRCC video team produces dozens of informative and creative videos each year on a wide range of subjects of interest to the Department, Canadians and our clients. We highlight one of their productions in each issue of our newsletter.

In this issue, we bring you the video “Opportunities in Canada.”

Opportunities in Canada is a window on the lives of several Francophone immigrants and their families who chose to live in Francophone communities outside Quebec. They share their perspectives on the many opportunities living in Canada brings.

To learn more about Francophone life in Canada visit

Upcoming events and important dates

Mark your calendar! Below is a selection of upcoming special events and national celebrations.

January 11, 2017, is Sir John A. Macdonald Day. The Right Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada and one of the architects of Confederation.

Every January 26, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and its members mark International Customs Day. This special day recognizes the efforts of the people working in customs organizations and their role in ensuring that communities remain safe and secure.

February 15 is National Flag of Canada Day. On February 15, 1965 Canada’s national flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill. February 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day in 1996 and has been observed every year since.

February 21 is International Mother Language Day, a day to promote linguistic, cultural diversity and multilingualism.

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