Three Things that Sponsoring Spouses Should Know

  1. You Could Be Ineligible – Factors like your criminal history, whether you are collecting social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and past sponsorship defaults can prevent you from even becoming a sponsor.
  2. Is Your Relationship “Genuine”?– A genuine relationship is one that is not entered into primarily for an immigration purpose. And while you may have the texts and Instagram posts to convince your close friends, you may also find yourself in an unconventional relationship or unsure what evidence IRCC will accept for the “genuineness” of a relationship.
  3. After Everything. . .You Might Just Be “On the Hook” – Many sponsors don’t realize that their responsibilities continue even after their spouses are successfully sponsored. For the three years following their spouse’s landing, a sponsor will be on the hook for any social assistance that their spouse receives. In Canada (Attorney General) v Mavi, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that a sponsor is responsible for this debt even in the following situations:
    • The sponsor and spouse separated within the three-year period.
    • The sponsor had no idea that the spouse was on social assistance.
    • The sponsor does not have the money to pay back the debt.
    • The spouse went on social assistance because the sponsor was in a difficult financial situation.
    • The sponsor did not know that they even had this kind of responsibility.
    • The sponsor claims that they were the victim of a marriage fraud.

While the government cannot forgive this kind of debt, it may put a hold on repayment depending on the situation (e.g. the sponsor separated from their spouse because of abuse). As Mavi remains in force today, it is important to be aware of this responsibility as you go through the sponsorship process.

We encourage you to speak to a lawyer before you begin the sponsorship process.