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Understanding a Family Class Sponsorship Breakdown

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Title: Understanding a Family Class Sponsorship Breakdown


1
Understanding a Family Class Sponsorship Breakdown
2
We are not going to talk about
  • Family sponsorship applicants either in Canada or
    overseas waiting for their permanent resident to
    be issued.
  • Family reunification of Convention Refugees or
    Protected Persons because they are not considered
    family sponsors.

3
SPONSORSHIP BREAKDOWN
  • Terms Defined

4
Terms Defined
  • Who is a Sponsor?
  • established family relationship
  • have financial capacity
  • signed a Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking
    with CIC (a commitment to provide for the basic
    requirements)

5
Who is a Co-Signer?
  • Another family member can help financially by
    co-signing the Sponsorship Agreement.
  • This person is the co-signer
  • has the same responsibilities as the sponsor.

6
Who is a Sponsored Family Member?
  • Spouse, common law or conjugal partner (including
    same-sex partner)
  • Dependant child 22 years or younger
  • Dependant child older than 22 years, who is a
    full-time student or in some other way is
    dependent on you
  • Parents
  • who received their permanent resident status in
    Canada only because a sponsor signed a
    Sponsorship Agreement

7
What is a Sponsorship Undertaking?
  • A legal document
  • signed by sponsor and co-signer (if applicable)
  • as a commitment to the Government of Canada
  • to provide basic necessities for the sponsored
    family member(s).

8
What is a Sponsorship Agreement?
  • The Sponsorship Agreement is a legal document
    signed by
  • the sponsor, the co-signer (if applicable) and
  • the sponsored family member(s).

9
Sponsorship Agreement (contd)
  • The sponsored family member(s) agrees
  • to seek help from the sponsor if they are unable
    to provide for their own basic requirements.
  • consents to the release of information to the
    sponsor concerning social assistance.

10
What are Basic Requirements?
  • food,
  • clothing,
  • a place to live,
  • heat, utilities,
  • household supplies,
  • personal requirements and
  • health care not provided by public health
    including dental and eye care. (OHIP takes 3
    months to kick in)

11
What is Ontario Works (OW)?
  • Delivers income assistance to residents of
    Ontario who are in financial need (welfare)

12
What is the Ontario Disability Support Program
(ODSP)?
  • Designed to meet the needs of people with
    disabilities who are in financial need.

13
What is the Overpayment Recovery Unit (ORU)?
  • Established to collect outstanding social
    assistance debts from sponsors who have defaulted
    on their Sponsorship Agreement.

14
What is Sponsorship Breakdown?
  • A sponsorship breakdown occurs
  • when the sponsor or co-signer refuse (or unable)
    to provide the basic requirements
  • The sponsored family member(s) starts to collect
    social assistance (under Ontario Works or ODSP).
  • If they do not collect social assistance then it
    is not a sponsorship breakdown.

15
Sponsorship Default
  • While sponsor is repaying the social assistance
    payments to the Ontario government
  • Is not allowed to sponsor other family members
    until debt is repaid
  • Same criteria applies for HC

16
What is the length of a Sponsorship?
  • Depends on relationship

Spouse 3 years
Dependent child (lt22 yrs.) 10 yrs. (or until 25 yrs.)
Dependent child over 22 yrs. 3 years
Parents 10 years
17
When does Undertaking begin?
  • On the day sponsored family member(s) receives
    the permanent resident document, (if done within
    Canada), or
  • On the day sponsored family member(s) enters
    Canada as a permanent resident (if done outside
    Canada.)

18
INFORMATION FOR SPONSORS
19
If conditions or circumstances of the sponsor
change?
  • The Sponsorship Agreement cannot be cancelled or
    modified after sponsored family member receives
    permanent residence.
  • Bankruptcy cant sponsor another family member
    -- sponsorship default (lifelong ban)

20
What are consequences of a Sponsorship Breakdown
for the Sponsor?
  • debt amount of welfare given to sponsored
    family member
  • OW or ODSP will advise CIC
  • Cant sponsor another family member(s) until debt
    is repaid

21
ConsequencesSponsor (contd)
  • OW or ODSP will refer case to the Overpayment
    Recovery Unit (ORU).
  • ORU informs sponsor by letter
  • Purpose of letter how will sponsor provide for
    the sponsored family member(s), or when start the
    collection of your debt.

22
ConsequencesSponsor (contd)
  • ORU will pursue the sponsorship debt will refer
    the case to Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Refund
    Set-Off Program. The CRA can garnish (take over)
    any Income Tax refunds
  • ORU can take other steps e.g. court action

23
ConsequencesSponsor (contd)
  • Credit record will be affected. E.g., application
    for a loan
  • Note If sponsor has been convicted of a sexual
    offence or an attempt/threat to commit a sexual
    offence, will not be eligible to sponsor again
    even if a sponsorship debt is repaid.

24
What happens to sponsored family member in a
Sponsorship Breakdown?
  • Applies to receive social assistance
  • must try to get support from sponsor, except if
    breakdown caused by abuse and/or family violence.
  • Will receive the same amount from OW or ODSP as
    any other person on social assistance.
  • If receiving partial support the amount will be
    reduced.

25
What the rights of the Sponsor when there is
Sponsorship Breakdown?
  • Immigration status is not affected
  • All rights and benefits to which sponsor is
    entitled are not affected

26
Rights as a sponsor (contd)
  • Sponsor can sponsor other relatives in the
    future
  • if out of the sponsorship period,
  • Have repaid outstanding debts and
  • have not received social assistance for at least
    12 months

27
Can one withdraw their sponsorship obligations?
  • If CIC has already issued a visa, or a family
    member(s) has already become a permanent
    resident, the sponsor cannot withdraw the
    sponsorship.

28
What can the sponsor do to resolve a sponsorship
breakdown?
  • Make an offer of assistance so they will stop
    receiving welfare. This is not possible if abuse
    and/or family violence has caused the breakdown.
  • contact OW or ODSP to discuss the options and to
    remain informed.

29
To resolve a breakdown (contd)
  • Resume support or make arrangements to repay the
    debt.
  • partial support (debt will continue to
    accumulate)

30
To resolve a breakdown (contd)
  • If asked to pay back social assistance, sponsor
    may want to contact a community legal clinic for
    advice and help.

31
What can stop or postpone the collection of the
sponsorship debt by the ORU?
  • The sponsor is deceased
  • The sponsor is incapacitated and unable to pay.
    E.g. in hospital
  • The sponsor has undergone bankruptcy
  • Third-party verification of domestic violence or
    abuse by the sponsor against the sponsored person
    or vice versa.

32
What stops collection (cont)
  • The sponsor is receiving social assistance.
  • The sponsors net family income is below the Low
    Income Cut Off amount
  • The sponsor and co-signer (if applicable) are in
    receipt of Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

33
What stops collection (cont)
  • The sponsor and co-signer (if applicable) have
    documented extraordinary circumstances. For
    example, the sponsor has a serious health
    condition along with high, ongoing drug costs.

34
What stops collection (cont)
  • Collection may be deferred up to 12 months
  • But sponsorship debt continues to accrue until
    the end of the sponsorship period.

35
What happens after debt is paid?
  • The ORU will notify OW or ODSP that the debt has
    been repaid in full
  • The OW or ODSP office will send Confirmation of
    Repayment of Social Assistance Benefits to CIC to
    confirm the debt has been repaid in full
  • The ORU will send confirmation that the debt has
    been paid in full and that the file has been
    closed.

36
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, HELP AND REFERRALS
  • Immigrant Serving Organizations
  • 211 Information Referral Service
  • Community Legal Clinics
  • Assaulted Womens Helpline
  • Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support
    Program (ODSP)
  • Overpayment Recovery Unit (ORU)

37
INFORMATION FOR SPONSORS
38
Implications of a Sponsorship Breakdown for a
Sponsored Family Member (Sponsoree)
  • If breakdown caused by lack of support from
    sponsor
  • have the right to apply for welfare
  • try everything possible not to collect welfare
    including support from your sponsor (except in
    the case of abuse and/or family violence).

39
Implications for Sponsoree
  • If eligible, will receive welfare
  • same amount of benefits as any other person
  • If receive partial support from sponsor, or if
    employed, could get less from OW or ODSP

40
Implications for Sponsoree (contd)
  • Can be found ineligible if
  • unwilling to provide information about sponsor
  • have not made reasonable efforts to pursue
    support from sponsor.
  • Note sponsor does not have the right to keep
    children or property. If there is a dispute, this
    will be resolved according to Family Law.

41
What happens with Permanent Resident Status if
sponsorship breaks down?
  • Will not lose their permanent resident status if
    sponsorship breaks down even if they need to
    apply for social assistance.

42
What are the rights of Sponsored family member
  • Status not affected
  • All rights and benefits are not affected
  • Right to apply for OW or ODSP.
  • Right to leave sponsor who is hurting, scaring or
    abusing them (even if spouse)
  • to sponsor relatives in the future if
    sponsorship period is finished and not on welfare
    for at least 12 months

43
Rights of the sponsoree (contd)
  • The sponsor or co-signer cannot make them leave
    Canada.

44
What are responsibilities of a sponsored person
in Canada?
  • To sign a sponsorship agreement with the
    sponsor.
  • To try and support themselves before seeking
    government support.

45
Exemptions from Pursuing Sponsorship Support
  • Do not have to pursue financial support from
    sponsor where
  • the sponsorship agreement is no longer in effect
  • the sponsor is in receipt of Ontario Works, ODSP,
    Guaranteed Income Supplement under the Old Age
    Security Act or Gains-A

46
Exemptions (contd)
  • the sponsor is deceased or,
  • the sponsorship has broken down due to family
    violence verified by a third party and sponsoree
    has moved out of the sponsors home.

47
Implications of a Breakdown due to Abuse or
Family Violence
  • Abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual,
    psychological, and economic. It includes assault
    and battery, constant threats, stalking, and
    psychological violence.
  • All types of abuse have one thing in common
    they create fear.

48
Abuse/family violence (contd)
  • May be forced to apply for social assistance
    (doesnt have to ask sponsor for assistance)
  • Report any alleged incident of abuse and/or
    family violence in your application for OW or
    ODSP
  • Will have 3 months to establish the allegation

49
Abuse/family violence (contd)
  • Can be confirmed by a letter from any of the
    following

Law Enforcement Officer Lawyer Teacher Medical Doctor Social Worker Social Service Worker Shelter Worker Member of the Clergy Guidance Counselor Victim Service Worker Settlement Services Worker Community Health Care Worker
50
Abuse/family violence (contd)
  • Additional time may be provided as required.
  • If confirmed, referral of the case to debt
    collection is deferred for up to 12 months.
  • CIC will register the default but no letters will
    be sent to sponsor by either CIC or Social
    Services.

51
Abuse/family violence (contd)
  • If abuse and/or family violence has been
    resolved, the case can be referred for debt
    collection.

52
Abuse/family violence (contd)
  • For a minor under 16
  • Childrens Aid Society will make a risk
    assessment.
  • Abandonment of a child could be considered abuse
    in itself and abandoning sponsor could be
    prosecuted.

53
Abuse/family violence (contd)
  • If sponsor has been convicted of a sexual offence
    or an attempt, threat to commit a sexual offence,
    she or he is not eligible to sponsor again even
    if the sponsorship debt is paid off.

54
Abuse/family violence (contd)
  • Myths
  • No rights during sponsorship period.
  • Must live with abusive sponsor/spouse
  • Can be deported, even if they are permanent
    residents

55
What if sponsor has the documents?
  • Can apply to CIC for a certified copy
  • Community worker can request the police to go to
    sponsors house with sponsoree for safety.

56
What can sponsoree do when there is abuse or
family violence?
  • Abuse and family violence are not accept-able in
    Canada and are considered a crime.
  • Seek legal advice.
  • In an emergency call 911.
  • Obtain crisis counselling, emotional support, and
    referrals to shelters for women Assaulted
    Womens Helpline

57
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, HELP AND REFERRALS
  • Immigrant Serving Organizations
  • 211 Information Referral Service
  • Community Legal Clinics
  • Assaulted Womens Helpline
  • Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support
    Program (ODSP)
  • Overpayment Recovery Unit (ORU)
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