In order to sponsor certain family members to come to Canada, sponsors have to establish that they have the “minimum necessary income” as required by Canada’s immigration regulations. The income requirement prevents low income people from sponsoring their parents and grandparents to come to Canada. While the regulations allow people who receive ODSP to sponsor their parents and grandparents, in reality they are barred by the minimum income requirement.
The Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (MTSALC) has challenged this requirement as being contrary to the Charter in several sponsorship appeals at the Immigration and Refugee Board.
In the first of the MTCSALC appeals to go to hearing, ISAC applied to intervene, in order to argue that the minimum income requirement violates the rights of people with disabilities and particularly those receiving ODSP. In May 2014, the Immigration and Refugee Board granted the appeal on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, which meant there was no opportunity for us to make our argument. Other appeals were also granted without hearing the Charter challenge. In the last of the MTCSALC appeals, ISAC did not apply to intervene because the case did not involve ODSP.
The current income requirement is even more onerous than that being challenged by MTCSALC. The government now requires that people have “minimum necessary income” + 30% in order to sponsor.
ISAC will continue to monitor this issue and consider intervening if Charter challenges are brought.