Improve processing time for Inland Spousal Sponsorship and Grant Open Work Permit Upon AOR
  • Petitioning Citizenship and Immigration Canada

This petition will be delivered to:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Director General, Immigration Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Mr. David Manicom

Improve processing time for Inland Spousal Sponsorship and Grant Open Work Permit Upon AOR

    1. Petition by

      Inland Sponsorship

      Edmonton, Canada

To Citizenship and Immigration Canada:


We are a group of Canadian citizens and permanent residents sponsoring our spouses for immigration under Inland Spousal Category. As of May 9 2014, the estimated processing time for first stage approval (sponsor and relationship assessment) is currently 10 months, followed by 8 months stage 2 for admissibility screenings.


Under the previous procedure, inland spousal sponsorships were processed at CPC-Vegreville. Applicants were also able to submit Open Work Permit (OWP) application so that the sponsored spouses can be approved to work once the stage 1 is complete with a positive assessment. OWP applications also gave sponsored spouses the implied status to allow them to remain in Canada, should their temporary residence expire at any point along the lengthy process. With the move of processing office from Vegreville to Mississauga, we have seen many unclarified confuses and we find that the process now is less efficient than before. Below are the reasons and our petition for changes.


 ·         OWP should be granted upon Acknowledgement Of Receipt, instead of waiting until after Approval in Principle (AIP) is granted. Understandably it is very difficult for newly married couples to live on one source of income. Judging from the inefficient processing time for this category, it is even more critical for the sponsored spouses to be able to work and support their Canadian spouses. The majority of these people will become permanent residents of Canada; therefore, Canada loses nothing if the government allow them to join the workforce as soon as possible. They need the income to establish their new life here, Canada will be able to collect their tax dollars sooner and it is fair to help people integrate and work as they have to wait in a long queue for the processing of their permanent residency. We find it very unreasonable when CIC easily issues Open Work Permit for spouses of Work Permit and Study Permit holders, and delay that very privilege to the spouses of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. In some ways, it is similar to bringing in temporary foreign workers to replace for local sources of labour. In American system, Employment Authorizations are granted once USCIS receive a complete, duly signed package of American inland spousal sponsorships. A similar approach should be adopted in Canada.


  ·         CIC and CBSA have a shared mandate to protect the security of Canada from foreign people and goods. However, there are many times when these agencies work in opposite directions. While CIC allows out of status people to apply for inland sponsorship, CBSA at their own discretion can remove these people at anytime for any reason. Under current polices, if applicants receive removal order, they will then have the right to ask for CIC’s expedited processing of their inland spousal applications within 60 days. If the decision is positive, the removal order is cancelled. This causes more confusing steps and time inefficiency for both CIC and CBSA. If OWP can be granted upon AOR, the sponsored spouses have a legal right to work AND to remain in Canada until PR is finalized. The inland processing should be streamlined to be more efficient, avoid time-consuming steps.


  ·         During transition between Vegreville and Mississauga, the processing time for both stages went up signifiicantly for each stage (nearly 2 year in total processing time). At this moment, CPP-Mississauga is issuing Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) to those who mailed their applications back in January 2014 and have processed applications received on July 8 2013 for almost 3 months now with no progress. CIC turnaround standard for AOR in most categories should be one month. If any information is missing on the applications, applicants will only be aware of it when CIC opens the packages (in about 4 month time now). CPP-Mississauga should pick up their processing time for this immigration stream and make sure they will issue AOR as per CIC service standards.


 We urge you to kindly review these issues and take immediate steps to rectify them. 


Thank you,


Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Mr. David Manicom, Director General, Immigration Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
We are Canadian citizens and permanent residents signing a petition to request CIC to improve processing time for Inland Spousal Sponsorships and Grant Open Work Permit upon issuing Acknowledgement of Receipt.

We ask that you review our petition as well as the comments, and take immediate actions to fix the long overdue problems in your program.

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. NDP: Tell Stephen Harper that families can’t wait

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      NDP is beginning to tackle this issue seriously and they have created a petition where people can sign to support the initiative. Please spread the words. One of the major political parties is standing on our side.

      Chris Alexander - As Canadian taxpayers, we demand answers from you. You can either give a Yes signal to Mississauga or fire them all - if they are not doing the jobs they get paid to do. 8 month getting paid and doing nothing is absolutely ridiculous! You are obligated to make sure our tax dollars responsibly spent! You and your Ministry have been extremely helpless and irresponsible to Canadian sponsors who struggle every single day until real change is made! Only toughest words can describe the widespread disappointment from the affected families for CIC.

      Tell Stephen Harper that families can't wait

      Add your voice. We the undersigned residents of Canada recognize the following: Immigration enriches this country and helps grow Canada's economy. The inland spousal sponsorship program allows a foreign national married to a Canadian to apply for sponsorship in Canada if they are already here legally with valid temporary status.

    2. Twitter meeting with Chris Alexander 1:15pm EST Thu Oct 16 2014

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer


      Please be advised that Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada Hon. Chris Alexander will be hosting a twitter Q&A tomorrow Thursday Oct 16 2014 at 1:15pm EST. Ask questions using #AskAlexander

      We invite all petitioners who have signed this Petition, as well as Member of Parliament offices and media agents who are concerned about the delay in processing Inland sponsorship to participate.

      See details here:



    3. Klaudios Mustakas - Senior Immigration Advisor: Why does it take so long to process a spousal application in Canada?

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      Not too long ago, the initial processing for in-Canada spousal cases was 4 to 6 months. It now takes a minimum of 13 months from the time Citizenship and Immigration Canada receives the application for the spouse to get stage one approval. Since it usually take several months to gather all the information required (medicals, background checks, etc), the time frame is actually more like 15 to 17 months.

      In my previous life, I was the Manager of Citizenship and Immigration. We had an almost 99% acceptance rate for stage one approval. This means that 13 months is wasted on something that is going to pass, anyway.

      Frankly, without an actual investigation, it's almost impossible to determine that a case is a marriage of convenience and should therefore be refused. CIC does not conduct any outside investigations. The Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) is mandated to conduct the investigations. However, it would be so low in their priority list that it would not solve the problem of wait times.
      The CIC should have better things to worry about than the possibility that a spouse may fail stage one approval.
      The 13-month waiting period causes countless problems for a family in Canada. 1) The proposed immigrant may be the main bread winner of the family and must wait over a year before he or she is eligible to apply for a work authorization. 2) Families are forced to live on their savings and in some cases must depend on extended family or even social assistance for support. 3) If they go on social assistance, then technically the sponsor is no longer eligible to sponsor their spouse. 4) The foreign spouse is not eligible for provincial health insurance until stage one approval. So what if the spouse is now pregnant or suffers from an illness?

      The irony is that if you are a foreign student and you have your spouse with you, he or she can apply for a work authorization immediately upon arrival. These spouses are also covered by provincial health insurance. For their part, refugee claimants are also eligible to work once they make their claim. Immigrant spouses of Canadians are not afforded these same rights.

      Immigration Canada should immediately start a program that grants the foreign spouse of Canadian citizens or permanent residents an employment authorization as soon as the application is submitted and medicals are passed. Since spouses are currently given a conditional 2 year landing, what would be the problem in getting a conditional employment authorization to go with it?

      The CIC should have better things to worry about than the possibility that a spouse may fail stage one approval. These spouses should be allowed to begin their lives as productive Canadian residents as soon as possible.

      Klaudios Mustakas is a former senior manager with the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). He is now a senior immigration advisor with Pace Law Firm.

      Canada Immigration Lawyer | Immigration Law Firm: Spousal Sponsorship Applications: Why The Wait?

      Klaudios Mustakas - Senior Immigration Advisor: Why does it take so long to process a spousal application in Canada? Not too long ago, the initial processing for in-Canada spousal cases was 4 to 6 months. It now takes a minimum of 13 months from the time Citizenship and Immigration Canada receives the application for the spouse to get stage one approval.

    4. This is what CIC officials said in 2010 in regards to family reunification

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      This is what CIC officials said 4 years ago in 2010, and we all can see what's really happening today. With the GCMS, with the promises to deliver faster and reasonable wait time for family reunification, everything now is just going the opposite direction from whatever they said. Shame on you, CIC! Time to get non-Conservatives MPs to bring this topic back to the Parliament again. What a useless, helpless, disrespectful liars. They are so used to negative comments that they immunize themselves from all public attacks. CIC represents for a government of a third world model. Shame on you Immigration Minister!

      How can you have peaceful dinners with your family and good sleeps at nights when your inhumane policies are destroying thousand other families.

      May God awaken your mind and heart soon, Chris Alexander!

      Please go to your MP office and request an official inquiry to Citizenship & Immigration.

      Delays in Immigration Processing Times for Family Class Applications

      Hon. Jim Karygiannis P.C., M.P. Scarborough-Agincourt questioning Senior Staff of Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Department, regarding immediate family class processing time lines in committee meeting.

    5. Punishing Spousal Sponsors - By Lawyer David Cohen

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      Dear government officials:

      Another week has passed with no progress made for Inland sponsorship files – as of today, the processing time is still sitting at July 30, 2013, it’s been the same situation for the past several weeks, and more than half a year now since March 2014, CIC has only processed applications received in July 2013, putting thousand Canadian families in financial and emotional limbo.

      There was an article written by Lawyer David Cohen, who has first-hand experiences with the Inland process, published on the well-known immigration website on August 14, 2014 that is worth your time reading:

      Punishing Spousal Sponsors - By Lawyer David Cohen
      A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander recently boasted that “Canada has one of the most generous family reunification programs in the world”. Maybe so, but don’t ask Canadian citizens and permanent residents, who are sponsoring their foreign national spouses, to second that opinion, especially those caught in the quagmire of the in-Canada sponsorship process.

      The current immigration regulations permit a foreign national spouse to be inside or outside Canada during the sponsorship process, so long as, in the former case, the foreign national is already legally in Canada when the process begins.

      In the past year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has doubled the processing time on inland applications and there is feeling among many of the individuals affected that the additional delay has been manufactured. At best, it is seen by some as a deterrent to utilizing the inland option and, at worst, it may be a signal that CIC soon intends to put an end to the in-Canada sponsorship option.

      Spousal sponsorship is a two-stage process for both in-Canada and outside-Canada applications. The first stage always occurs in Canada and it involves an assessment of the Canadian sponsor’s eligibility. The second stage is about assessing the foreign national and it includes health and criminal clearances. Last year, the first stage of inland applications was taking six months to complete and it now takes eleven months. To put this in perspective, the first stage of outside Canada applications is being completed in less than two months. There is no difference in the work being done. It’s purely a policy decision.

      For in-Canada applicants, completion of the first stage of the process is significant. It is only then that the foreign national spouse is entitled to a work permit and a provincial health card. The longer wait is more than an inconvenience; it causes financial and emotional hardship. It doesn’t have to be this way. Canada grants open work permits to the spouses of international students and many temporary foreign workers, right from the moment they enter Canada. Nobody is saying this is wrong, but what is available to temporary foreign residents with few ties to Canada should also be given to spouses of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. After all, they are residents-in-waiting. Why punish them for doing what the regulations allow?

      There was a Canadian mother-in-law, who wrote: “The delay appears to be a tool used by the government to deter people from applying for inland spousal sponsorship. It is extremely difficult for these couples, especially if they have children, to make ends meet financially on one income and the lack of accessible health care the system puts vulnerable people at risk. It appears that the current position of the federal government is biased against Canadians who meet, fall in love and marry someone within Canada. I watched a video on the Minister of Immigrations website and found the propaganda offensive. It does not reflect the relationship of my son and his wife. This fear mongering must not continue and each applicant deserves timely service and fair evaluation based on the merit of their application.”
      There have been countless miserable stories shared on the Internet about how this irresponsible delay has damaged the Canadian families that are directly involved. They are Canadian-born sponsors feeling betrayed by their own country when they see their hard-earned tax dollars used to fund for different immigration streams that brings in and provide health coverage for temporary foreign workers and their accompanying spouses, and the Canadians have to pay out of their pockets for their sponsored spouses, or for delivery of their newborn children right in Canadian health facilities. They are the sponsored spouses that are forced to sit at home and watch life move on outside because they are made to believe it is a mercy from Canadian government for the Inland sponsored spouses to be with their Canadian spouses while waiting. Many of them are very talented, capable individuals. Many of them are PhD, health specialists, artists, economists from all over the world, coming to Canada to be with their loved ones and hope that they will be able to work and to contribute to Canadian society, but what this government has done to them make them feel so insulted.
      I urge you to wake up and have this issue addressed immediately. By neglecting this issue, you are telling Canadians and the world that Canadian government doesn’t care much about family values, doesn’t bother to review unreasonable immigration policies, and doesn’t want to admit your problems.

      If you cannot make things right for your own citizens, your own country, nobody would be convinced that Canada is a big player in the international human rights activities, a peace keeper, and a democratic nation.
      Thank you,

    6. Reached 1,000 signatures
    7. Facebook Page for Canada Inland Spousal Sponsorship Petitioners

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      This page will be a community where all members are free to share comments, stories, experiences to each other, as well as a place where action plans to call on Canadian government to improve processing for inland sponsorship.

    8. Reached 750 signatures
    9. A Message For All Inland Sponsors

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      CIC has updated its website on September 5 2014 to reflect the processing time as of September 3 2014. Accordingly, the processing time for inland sponsorship has increased to 13 months. They have processed July 30 2013 applications for the past 3 weeks with no movement. Furthermore, CIC has been stuck with July 2013 applications since February 2014, meaning 7 months has passed and CIC still cannot move on. For the past 7 months, they have stopped working on new applications received after July 30 2013.

      Many complaints and concerns have been addressed to CIC officials through public and different media channels, but things remain unchanged. As the summer recess for Parliament is ending, the Members of Parliament will soon return to their Ottawa offices, we urge all affected people to contact your local MPs immediately and request in-person meetings with them to address this issue. Please ask the MPs to present the case to Parliament and question Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Canada, Chris Alexander, as to why his department does not want to move on with Inland sponsorship, leaving thousands of Canadian families in extreme financial and emotional hardship. If CIC is not able to move on right now, we want an official answer from the Minister for why this has happened, and when it will be justified.

      Together we must do our parts in sending a stronger message to the Government. As of today, we have already had more than 700 signatures collected during the 4 month period of this petition campaign. Please continue spreading the story to your friends, family members, for them to support us. Please feel free to use any article and data in this campaign website to convince your MPs about what is going on.

      Thank you

    10. A story from British Columbia

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer


      I would like to share my recent dealings with Health Insurance BC as I hope you will be able to offer the information to others in our position to access health care for their spouses during the now 20 month wait for CIC to process applications for PR.

      My wife was denied Medical Services Plan coverage on my plan and we were told that this would remain the case until we received 'Approval in Principal' from CIC - I understand this denial of coverage is common in BC and Ontario. After checking the BC Laws and Regulations that determine coverage it became clear that HIBC were not following the rules and should be enrolling spouses as soon as an application is received by CIC. With this information I contacted my local MP, who's seceratary was very helpful but ultimately could only repeat the 'HIBC require proof of Approval in Principle' line. I also wrote to the BC Minister for Health Terry Lake on 28th May 2014, as yet unanswered, outlining the discrepancy between HIBC's actions and the Rules and Regulations that they are governed by.

      After exhausting the appeal process to no avail I submitted a Freedom of Information request to request documents regarding HIBC's decision to interpret the 'deemed residency' rules to require 'approval in principle' from CIC, as this is not in the Rules or Regulations. While I did not receive that, I was sent a copy of the HIBC Eligibility Manual and HIBC Enrolment and Account Maintenance Manual. When I then called HIBC - having been told previously on numerous occasions by them my wife was ineligible for coverage - I quoted page numbers and statements from the manual and asked from which page the operator was quoting when denying my wife coverage and was told by the operator that her supervisor would need to look at this and I would get a call back. One week later I called back, not having heard from HIBC, and after being put on hold for 15 minutes was told that my wife's enrolment had been granted and her card should be with us in two weeks.

      My wife is no further along the sponsorship process than she was all the other times HIBC denied her enrolment to my plan. Our sponsorship application has been received by but not been opened by CIC. The only thing that changed was that I had the book that told the operators who to enrol and who not to - and it is as clear as the Rules and Regulations in that spouses who have applied for PR are eligible for MSP coverage.

      I hope this information will be of use to others in BC in the same situation - awaiting sponsorship approval from CIC but without health coverage - and am very happy for you to share it as you see fit. The result of my FOI request was published on the 22nd July 2014 on the website. I would appreciate it if you do not share my email address.



    11. As of Sep 2 2014, CIC is still working on July 2013 applications

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      Surprise! CIC doesn't want to move in the processing of inland sponsorship. And it's been more than half a year stand still for this stream. Nobody cares.

      This whole CIC thing is starting to get crazy, when they put the new immigration minister in charge, its like electing for a boss who doesn't care about his country, doesn't want to listen to the people, doesn't address the issues in his ministry.

      This is just very frustrating. We try to be positive and hope that may be next week things will change (as they have to change). And week after week, the same disappointment repeats. Week after week, CIC can only work on July 2013 inland sponsorship files for more than 6 months now.

      We don't know when the Minister will do anything to rectify this, or at least give us some hopes, some explanations. The disappointment is so big now that whenever we think about CIC, or the Conservatives government, we think of inhumane leaders.

      This is Eric, on behalf of very frustrated foreign spouses who have no status, no health care, no right to work in Canada.

      Processing Times: Family Sponsorship

      This information is updated weekly (step 1) and quarterly (step 2) and shows the time it takes to process an application after we receive a complete application package. There are two steps in processing family sponsorship applications.

    12. August 8 2014: Processing dates go backward

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      CIC has updated its website to show processing time for inland sponsorship as 12 month wait - for just Stage 1 review. Interestingly, the processing date went backward from processing applications received on July 30, 2014 last week to processing applications received on July 29, 2014 as of today August 8, 2014. No explanation given as to why the progress is going backward.

    13. Processing time for AOR improves

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      Update: CIC is currently speeding up the processing for Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) for Inland Family Sponsorship. In the past couple days (August 6-7, 2014), CIC has issued AORs to a large number of applications that were received in March and April 2014. These applicants have waited for AORs for nearly 4 months and they are now getting the first correspondences from CIC in batch. We expect to see significant improvements in processing time for Approval In Principle (AIP) and Open Work Permit Grant. Hopefully CIC will soon be getting back to its full processing capability, as seen prior to the transfer of files to Mississauga. We continue to ask CIC to consider granting Open Work Permit to inland sponsored foreign spouses upon AORs in order to make this program align with other immigration streams.

    14. Delay continues

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      From: Inland Sponsorship <>
      Date: Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 11:44 AM
      Subject: Re: Inland sponsorship backlog continues to grow without any logical reason
      To:,,,,,, Enza Uda <>,,, Jinny Sims <>, Kathy Tomlinson <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,, "Keung, Nicholas" <>

      Mr. Chris Alexander:

      Between February 2014 and July 2014, the CIC unit responsible for inland sponsorship had only processed one month volume of applications that was received back in July 2013. In other words, in the past 5 months, the productivity of this unit had been one fifth as compared to previous years and other countries. No formal explanation given to Canadian sponsors.

      2014 has become one of the worst year in performance records of inland sponsorship applications. CIC has confirmed with media that at any given time, the department has a backlog of about 8,000 inland sponsorship applications, spreading out to be nearly 700 applications received every month. Between February to July 2014, one can assume the unit only processed about 700 applications that was received in July. The majority of applications in the backlog applied when the timeline was reasonably kept under 8 months, now growing to one year. Also, most of the backlog were received in the past couple years. Blaming it on former government's policy absolutely makes no sense.

      We demand the Minister to look into this issue as soon as possible. We believe that if the government continues to refuse our rights to a reasonable processing time and allow the processing time to go out of control like right now, we do have an option to bring CIC to Federal and Supreme Court on the basis of Writ of Mandamus.

      See here:

      Inland Sponsors

    15. Reached 500 signatures
    16. Foreign spouses trapped in Canada due to sponsorship backlog

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer
      Foreign spouses trapped in Canada due to sponsorship backlog | Toronto Star

      Ottawa has doubled the time it takes to process immigration applications for foreign spouses already living in Canada, prompting fear that the "inland sponsorship program" would eventually be eliminated. Currently, Canada allows a foreign national married to a Canadian to apply for sponsorship in the country if they are already here legally with valid temporary status.

    17. Processing time for AIP went from 10 months to 11 months on June 11 2014

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      It is anticipated that Toronto Star will feature a story on inland spousal sponsorship delay this coming Friday June 13 2014 (Yes - it's Friday the 13th). If you communicated with Toronto Star, expect to see your story go public.
      As of June 11, 2014, CIC has increased processing time to 11 month for first stage approval. No official reason provided. Please contact your local Member of Parliament to raise the concern.

    18. Reached 250 signatures
    19. Red tape leaves expectant B.C. mom with no medicare, $20K in bills

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer
      Red tape leaves expectant B.C. mom with no medicare, $20K in bills

      A B.C. couple about to have their first baby said the best time of their lives has been marred by fear and frustration - because red tape has them facing up to $20,000 in hospital bills. "Seeing how the system has failed in this case is the most frustrating thing," said father-to-be Kevin Ganshorn, who lives in Vancouver with his wife Susana Bustes.

    20. Reached 100 signatures
    21. Inland Spousal Sponsorship Applicants Excluded

      Inland Sponsorship
      Petition Organizer

      Under current immigration policy, applicants applying for immigration to Canada under economic streams such as Provincial Nomination or Canadian Experience Class only need AOR to apply for Open Work Permit (or extension) while waiting for their files to be finalized. The live-in caregivers are also issued Open Work Permit as soon as they file their PR applications. Foreign spouses of Study Permit and Work Permit holders are eligible for Open Work Permit and health coverage without any restriction. Effective June 1 2014, international students studying at post-secondary level will automatically be allowed to work in Canada without a work permit. It is very unreasonable that foreign spouses of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are excluded from this very basic right. We are asking the government to review the program policy and give the same right to work to foreign spouses that have received AOR to make it more compatible with other immigration streams.

    22. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Barbara Kordas POINTE CLAIRE, CANADA
      • about 3 hours ago

      My sister-in-law has been here for 2 years and in her relationship for about 10 years so it has been long enough to wait for her to be able to live and work in Canada as a proper citizen.

    • Tahmina Hamidi HAMILTON, CANADA
      • about 13 hours ago

      im a mother of 3 children and my husband can not work because he case is still in initial process, i really need him to work so we both could rise our children with a better financial situation

      • about 24 hours ago

      I am married to a Namibian and we are in queue for inland sponsorship since March 2014.

    • Richard Milmine ORFORD QUEBEC, CANADA
      • 2 days ago

      My Spouse cannot travel, work, get medical insurance,drive

      • 2 days ago

      Sto firmando perché mia figlia Giulia Falchetti vive a Vancouver da un anno e mezzo e sposata da un anno con un cittadino canadese abbia la possibililita' di ricevere la residenza permanente in Canada che le permette di trovare un lavoro e poter venire in Italia a trovare la sua famiglia.


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