Canada to cut spousal sponsorship processing times with office and staff expansion - - Canada Immigration Newsletter
spousal sponsorship processing times

Canada to cut spousal sponsorship processing times with office and staff expansion

Canada spousal sponsorship processing times are to be reduced. Canada announced in a press release of March 5, 2021, that in an effort to process more applications and reunite families faster, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is expanding its Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia. This includes the addition of new office space and the hiring of 62 new employees.

Due to restrictions related to COVID-19, the Case Processing Centre in Sydney is currently limited to 30% occupancy. The opening of the new office space will significantly increase this capacity and will allow more employees who are currently working remotely to return to the office. The new employees will primarily work on family class overseas applications.

See also Canada’s spousal sponsorship processing now 12 months for new applicants.

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.


With these new expansions, IRCC expects to process more applications and shorten the processing times that have been extended during the pandemic.

IRCC is targeting a return to one-year standard processing for spousal sponsorship applications. “Most notably, the extra space and increased capacity will speed up processing times and help us return to the one-year standard for spousal applications,” said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.


Canada plans to welcome 401,000 new immigrants in 2021, of which 103,500 are expected to come via family class programs, including 80,000 spouses, partners and children, and 23,500 parents and grandparents.

Canada’s Family Class Immigration Levels Plan

Overall Permanent Resident Admissions401,000411,000421,000
Spouses, Partners and Children80,00080,00081,000
Parents and Grandparents23,50023,50023,500
Total Family103,500103,500104,500

Canada Family Sponsorship Immigration Programs

Under Canada’s family sponsorship programs, a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, aged 18 or more can sponsor certain family members to become Canadian permanent residents.


The sponsor assumes all financial responsibility for their relative once he or she arrives in Canada.

To be a sponsor, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident must:

  • sign a sponsorship agreement with the relative to be sponsored that commits the sponsor to provide financial support for the relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support him or herself;
  • provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident, and;
  • provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.

Read also:

Relatives who can be sponsored include:


  • spouse – (restrictions apply)
  • common-law partner – (restrictions apply)
  • conjugal partner – (restrictions apply)
  • dependent children
  • parents – (Additional conditions apply)
  • grandparents – (Additional conditions apply)
  • brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, granddaughters or grandsons who are orphaned, under 18 years of age and not married or in a common-law relationship
  • another relative of any age or relationship but only under specific conditions
  • accompanying relatives of the above (for example, spouse, partner and dependent children).

Spouses and common-law partners who come to Canada under the sponsorship programs are allowed to work under the Spousal Work Permit Pilot Program.


“Expanding the Case Processing Center in Sydney will help us reunite families and process more applications, while creating good local jobs for Cape Bretoners. Most notably, the extra space and increased capacity will speed up processing times and help us return to the 1-year standard for spousal applications. I’m proud of the work of our Sydney office, which will continue to play a vital role in our efforts to strengthen Canada through immigration.”

– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Expanding the Sydney Case Processing Centre will create meaningful employment for 62 people here in Sydney–Victoria, while helping our region continue to grow and prosper through immigration. I’m excited to see the difference it will make in our community.”

– Jaime Battiste, Member of Parliament for Sydney–Victoria

“Cape Bretoners play a vital role in our immigration system. Public servants at our local Case Processing Centre work hard every day to welcome new Canadians, many of whom now call Cape Breton home. This announcement will help us build on that proud tradition, increasing our capacity so we can welcome even more new Canadians.”

– Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton–Canso

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.