November 1, 2016 - Spousal Sponsorship rule to be repealed by spring 2017

The Canadian government released a statement and draft regulations on October 28, 2016, indicating the intention to repeal the rule on conditional permanent residence by spring of 2017 (anticipated).

Under the current rule, which came into force in 2012, conditional permanent residence is issued to individuals who have been sponsored by a spouse or common law partner, have been in the relationship for two years or less, and have no children. Conditional permanent residence requires the sponsored spouse or partner to cohabit with the sponsor continuously for two years after obtaining permanent resident status.  When a spouse / common law partner does not reside with the sponsor for two years, their permanent resident status can be revoked. 

The rules outline two narrow exceptions to this rule, in cases where:

  • The sponsor passes away, or
  • The sponsor is abusive to the spouse or common law partner, their child, or a family member.

The statement released on October 28, 2016, states that this section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations would be repealed in its entirety.  As a result, once repealed, the cohabitation rule would no longer apply to those who have sponsorship applications in process. The rule would also no longer apply to those currently subject to the condition.

This change comes in light of discussions regarding the rule's unintended consequence on vulnerable people, particularly those who may feel that they have no choice but to remain in abusive circumstances to avoid losing permanent resident status.

According to the statement, there is no conclusive information on whether this rule has been able to deter fraudulent spouses from entering Canada and misusing spousal sponsorship, which was the original intention. Further,  "benefits of conditional permanent residence have not been shown to outweigh the risks to vulnerable sponsored spouses and partners subject to the two-year cohabitation requirement."


To read the full Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, click here

For more information on conditional permanent residence and these proposed changes, contact us