On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization assessed COVID-19 as a pandemic. The Canadian government has unveiled aggressive new measures to contain the coronavirus and this has direct impact on Canadian immigration. This bulletin will provide a summary of the key immigration updates for the period between October 1, 2020 and October 5, 2020.

Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Program Opening

On October 5, 2020, Immigration Canada announced details for the opening of the 2020 Parents and Grandparents program.

Over a 3-week period, from 12 pm EDT on October 13, 2020, to 12 pm EST on November 3, 2020, Canadian citizens and permanent residents who wish to sponsor their parents or grandparents to come to Canada will have an opportunity to submit an interest to sponsor form online. Immigration Canada will randomly select potential sponsors and send them an invitation to submit an application. Selected applicants will have 60 days to submit their application.

Please note accommodation is available to persons with disabilities who are not able to use the online sponsor form. They can request the interest to sponsor form in an alternative format (paper copy, Braille or large print) by contacting the Immigration Canada's Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100 or by email until November 3, 2020.

Further, given that many sponsors may have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Immigration Canada is introducing a temporary public policy that will reduce the income requirement for the 2020 tax year to the minimum necessary income, instead of the minimum necessary income plus 30%.

International Students Authorized to Return to Canada

On October 4, 2020, Immigration Canada announced learning institutions whose COVID-19 readiness plans have been approved by their provincial or territorial government will soon be able to welcome more international students back to their schools. The amended travel restrictions will take effect on October 20, 2020, allowing international students to enter Canada if their designated learning institution has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place.

Canada Eases Border Restrictions for Extended Family Members

On October 2, 2020, Immigration Canada announced a process is being introduced to support enhanced family reunification. In general, the following people may be able to enter Canada during the border restrictions with a written travel authorization:

  • Students;
  • Unmarried couples;
  • Adult children;
  • Grandchildren;
  • Siblings;
  • Grandparents; and
  • Others on compassionate grounds to see a dying relative.

The detailed information on who may qualify as an extended family member and the process and requirements to be eligible to travel to and enter Canada will be released by Immigration Canada on October 8, 2020.

Work Permit and Study Permit Applications

On October 2, 2020, Immigration Canada announced a temporary public policy for foreign nationals who have submitted a work permit or study permit application processed outside of Canada may have the work permit or study permit issued in Canada without leaving Canada. This means foreign nationals who are physically in Canada and who received a positive decision letter on their work permit or study permit application processed outside of Canada may request the examination and document issuance required by section 11 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act from within Canada using the IRCC Web form.


Guidelines for Canadian immigration and travel are evolving quickly and are subject to frequent change with little to no prior notice.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.