The Government of Canada allowed at least 70 potential sponsors to apply to its Parents and Grandparents Program in exchange for dropping two lawsuits related to the program’s controversial expression of interest intake in January, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is reporting.
The settlement was done in secret and involved a non-disclosure agreement, CBC reports.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a 2019 quota of 20,000 complete applications to the Parents and Grandparents Program, which allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents over the age of 18 to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents for Canadian permanent residence.
The two lawsuits stemmed from the January 28 opening of the Parents and Grandparents Program to expressions of interest from potential sponsors.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) had a quota of 27,000 Interest to Sponsor forms for the opening and more than 100,000 people tried to submit one.
The opening lasted less than 10 minutes and sparked widespread frustration and anger among those were either unable to access the form or couldn’t complete it on time.
IRCC used a “first-in, first-served” approach to processing Interest to Sponsor forms this year after its switch to a randomized selection process in 2018 was widely accused of reducing family reunification to a lottery.
CBC said the lawsuits claimed this year’s Interest to Sponsor process was “arbitrary, capricious, procedurally unfair and unjust.”
A government official who spoke with CBC said the government opted to settle given the small number of plaintiffs and the fact they included persons with disabilities.
The official also said court proceedings could have jeopardized the entire 2019 application process.
In a statement to CBC News, the office of Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, said the online Interest to Sponsor process is now under review.
“We are continually monitoring all of our programs to find ways to improve them. It is too early to speculate on potential changes to next year’s application process,” the statement said.
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