IRCC’s Pilot Project to Sponsor Undeclared Family Members – Expiring Soon

Please see our updated article as this program has been extended.

The Government of Canada has extended a pilot project that allows certain immigrants who did not declare family members on their original applications to still sponsor them so they can come to Canada.

When a person applies for permanent residence in Canada, all family members (spouse/partner and dependent children) must be declared and examined as part of the application process. The family members must be listed by the applicant whether or not the family members are applying for permanent residence.

To have a family member be declared and examined means the family member must be listed on the application and will need to undergo criminal and security checks, as well as medical exams.

A person’s family member may decide to join them in Canada at a later date. The “Family Class” and “In-Canada Spouse and Common Law Partner” sponsorship programs allow Canadian Permanent Residents and Citizens to sponsor eligible family members to come to Canada and become Permanent Residents themselves.

However, one of the eligibility requirements is whether the family member being sponsored was declared on the sponsor’s previous Permanent Residence application. This is applicable for Naturalized Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents whose family members were alive or in a relationship with them at the time they became a Permanent Resident.

If a family member is not declared and examined, under the Canadian Immigration Regulations, that person is then permanently barred (not allowed) from being sponsored in the future. Therefore, these undeclared family members are not eligible to apply for Permanent Residence under the “Family Class” or “In-Canada Spouse and Common Law Partner” sponsorship programs.

In 2019, the Government of Canada introduced a temporary Public Policy Pilot Program which creates an exemption to this normal lifetime ban for some individuals.

To be eligible for the Pilot Program:

a) The Principal Applicant (person applying for Permanent Residence) must be applying to be sponsored as a Spouse, Common-Law Partner, or Dependent Child,

b) The potential Sponsor must have been granted their own permanent residence through one of the following methods:

  1. As a resettled refugee
  2. As a person granted refugee or protected person status from within Canada
  3. As a dependent of a resettled refugee or protected person
  4. As someone who was sponsored as a Spouse, Common-Law partner, Conjugal Partner, or dependent child through the Family Class or SCLPC Class.


c) If the Principal Applicant had been declared as a family member at the time, they would not have made the Sponsor ineligible for Permanent Residence.

The Pilot Program was first created in 2019. It is set to expire on September 9th, 2023. It is unclear if the Government of Canada will extend the program or create a permanent exemption to the undeclared bar.

More information about the Pilot Program can be found on the IRCC website or you can contact our clinic at 416-441-1764 ext. 1 or complete our online Intake Form.

***This is legal information and not legal advice. If you need further information or need legal advice, please call our Intake Line at 416-441-1764 ext. 1 or complete our online Intake Form.***