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  Who can sponsor and

  who can be sponsored to Canada?

Who can sponsor someone to Canada? Who can you sponsor to Canada? These are questions that are asked daily both here in Canada and abroad. The questions appear to be straightforward but the answers are not. Many people confuse provincial immigration with federal immigration.

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program is not a family sponsorship program. Technically, you cannot sponsor anyone. Manitoba residents can provide support for economic stream applications submitted to MPNP. Specifically, they can provide support for close relatives; who are defined in the MPNP kit page 14 as a son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, first degree uncle or aunt, and first degree cousin; or they can provide support for distant relatives or close friends.

One sworn Manitoba Affidavit of Support (MAS) document is required for applications for close family members and two for applications from distant family members or close friends. These supporters must be permanent residents or Canadian citizens and resident of Manitoba for at least the last calendar year. MPNP does expect supporters to honour the commitments they have made on their affidavits of support, however, this is not the same as the legal obligation set forth for sponsors under the federal immigration family class applications in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

Federal family class applications

According to IRPA, Canadian citizens or permanent residents, eighteen years of age or older and living in Canada may be eligible to sponsor eligible family members, some from inside Canada and others from outside Canada.

First, for sponsorships inside Canada you can sponsor a spouse, a common-law or conjugal partner (of either gender), or a dependent child. Secondly, for sponsorships of close family members abroad, you may be able to sponsor a spouse, a common-law or conjugal partner, dependent children, mother, father, grandfather or grandmother. A dependent child must be a biological offspring or a legally adopted child who is under the age of 22 and not married or in a common-law relationship – or the child can also be a full-time student.  It is important however that the sponsorship is only for sponsors who will live in Canada when your family members are given permanent resident status.

There are also circumstances where you can sponsor orphaned brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or grandchildren under the age of 18, unmarried and not in a common-law relationship. Legal guardians may sponsor orphans, too, if they became guardians while the children were under the age of 18.

You can also sponsor someone related to you by blood if have no other relatives in Canada or anywhere else in the world. 

In order to be considered an eligible sponsor, you must be:


  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • 18 years of age or older;
  • Living in Canada or intending to live in Canada.

You are not eligible if:

  • You do not intend to live in Canada or;
  • You are facing serious criminal charges, or immigration or citizenship proceedings that could affect your status as a permanent resident or citizen in Canada or;
  • You are in jail or:
  • You have filed for bankruptcy and have not yet received an automatic discharge or an order of absolute discharge from the court or;
  • You have not paid back a loan from Citizenship and Immigration Canada or you owe CIC on a performance bond or;
  • You previously sponsored a relative or family member who received social assistance benefits before the end of the sponsorship undertaking and you have not fully repaid the benefits or;
  • You have not made court-ordered payments or;
  • You are on social assistance, other than having a disability or;
  • You have been convicted of a sexual offence or you have been convicted of an attempt, or a threat to commit a sexual offence or;
  • You have been convicted of a criminal offence resulting in bodily harm against someone who is a member of your family, your spouse’s family or your common-law or conjugal partner’s family, or;
  • You have been convicted of an attempt or a threat to commit this kind of offence.

This article was not intended to provide an exhaustive study of the subject of sponsorship of foreign nationals to Canada but rather only to provide the reader with some valuable information about the subject. If you have particular questions or require clarifications on the points discussed above, you are welcome to call.

Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. He can be reached at 838 Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg, (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292. E-mail:

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