While Canada holds strong family values and believes that families of all shapes and sizes must be able to live together, they still demand that people show proof of responsibility. Hence the requirement of proof of financial ability for most immigration applications.
What Is Financial Ability And How Does It Work?
You may be required to establish that you have a level of income that fulfills the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) or low-income cut-off (LICO) for a specific family size in order to sponsor family members for permanent residence in Canada.
The “financial ability” component is critical to a Family Class Sponsorship application’s success. When it comes to sponsorship applications in this area, it is the determining element.
Family Class Sponsorship applications can be divided into two categories based on their “financial ability”, and they are:
- Financial ability requirements for applications submitted under the family class category in any province except Quebec;
- Financial ability requirements for applications submitted under the family class category in Quebec.
Financial ability requirements for applications submitted under the family class category in any province except Quebec
You must be able to demonstrate an income level that meets the minimum necessary income (MNI) or low-income cut-off (LICO) for a certain family size (as established by Statistics Canada).
You are freed from this requirement only, and only if the individual that you’re sponsoring is:
- your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner; or
- a dependent child
However, if your child has children of their own, you must meet an income requirement to sponsor them.
If you’re sponsoring your parent/s and grandparent/s, you usually must meet the NMI or the LICO plus an additional 30% for each of the three tax years preceding your application.
Although, due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on many sponsors, the income requirement for the tax year 2020 has been reduced to the minimum required income, sans the additional 30%.
Sponsors of family classes will be able to include certain benefits in their income calculations for the 2020 tax year, such as:
- Regular Employment Insurance benefits, rather than special Employment Insurance benefits,
- Canada Emergency Response Benefits under the Employment Insurance Act or the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit Act, and
- other temporary COVID-19 benefits if they aren’t part of any provincial social assistance programs
It’s crucial to note, however, that these changes have no impact on the income requirements for the 2018 and 2019 tax years.
To see if your overall income is sufficient, subtract the following from the amount shown on line 150 of their most recent Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment (CRA):
- Provincial instruction or training allowance;
- Social assistance paid by a province;
- Guaranteed income supplement paid under the Old Age Security Act; and
- Employment insurance: maternity, parental and sickness benefits paid under the Employment Insurance Act are considered income. Other payments such as employment insurance and federal training allowances are not considered income.
In the event that you’re unable to prove the financial ability to provide the basic needs of whoever you’re sponsoring, your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner can co-sign, as long as:
- Your combined income meets the criteria; and
- They meet all the other criteria of a valid sponsor
Employment Insurance (unemployment) or disability benefits are not considered social assistance, and if you get these benefits, you can still sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner.
Financial ability requirements for applications submitted under the family class category in Quebec.
If you’re currently residing in Quebec and you want to sponsor an immigrant, you must show a level of income that meets the Quebec government’s minimum income requirements for a certain family size.
However, you will be exempt from this requirement if you are sponsoring your:
- spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner; or
- dependent child.
You must also be able to show a consistent income that regularly exceeds the low-income cut-off over the course of the previous 12 months.
Basic needs of sponsor and dependent persons:
|No. of dependents||Your required gross annual income|
|Each additional dependent||$5,326|
Basic needs of Sponsored Person(s):
|Persons 18 and over||Persons under 18||Your required annual gross income|
|The annual gross amount required is increased by $4,500 for each additional individual under 18.|
|The annual gross amount required is increased by $3,121 for each additional person under 18.|
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