By CBC News |

‘This will give all interested sponsors the same opportunity to submit,’ says Immigration Canada

The Liberal government is postponing the next round of its widely criticized family reunification program while it looks into developing a new intake process, according to a statement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to apply to bring grandparents and parents to Canada. Critics have called the selection process unfair since all of the online application spots were snapped up in just minutes earlier this year.

In its Monday statement, Immigration Canada said it’s delaying the 2020 round as it works on a new intake system.

“This means that the opportunity to express interest in sponsoring a parent or grandparent will not take place on Jan. 1, 2020,” reads the statement.

“Further information about the expected launch date and 2020 intake process will be available in the new year. This will give all interested sponsors the same opportunity to submit an interest-to-sponsor form and a fair chance to be invited to apply.”

Jamie Liew, an immigration lawyer and professor at the University of Ottawa, said it’s upsetting news for families who were hoping to apply this time around.

“It’s a significant announcement in the fact it will impact a lot of people who have a lot of hope this time of year,” she said.

“It is a significant thing that people who may have missed out on their opportunity last year are waiting for the opportunity this year. And to have that postponed must be disappointing for people who are separated from their families.”

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the department wanted to give families a heads up that the application process won’t be open in January as it has been in the last few years.

Mathieu Genest said the government is “looking at all options” as it reviews the intent-to-sponsor form.

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