Last updated on March 3rd, 2019

Last Updated on March 3, 2019 by Steven Meurrens

One of the requirements to being a sponsor in both the Family Class and the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class is that the sponsor must on the day that the application is submitted and until the application is assessed have a minimum necessary income.

For most types of family sponsorships, the income must be equal to the minimum necessary income, which is statutorily defined as being equal to Statistics Canada Low Income Cutoff (“LICO“). The current LICO requirements are as follows:

Size of Family Unit Minimum necessary income
1 person (the sponsor) $24,949
2 persons $31,061
3 persons $38,185
4 persons $46,362
5 persons $52,583
6 persons $59,304
7 persons $66,027
More than 7 persons, for each additional person, add $6,628

For sponsors seeking to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents, the income must be equal to the minimum necessary income plus 30% for each of the three consecutive taxation years immediately preceding the date of filing of the sponsorship application. The current requirements are as follows:

Total number of persons you would be responsible for Minimum income required for the 3 taxation years right before the date of your application
2018 2017 2016
2 persons $40,379 $39,813 $39,371
3 persons $49,641 $48,945 $48,404
4 persons $60,271 $59,426 $58,768
5 persons $68,358 $67,400 $66,654
6 persons $77,095 $76,015 $75,174
7 persons $85,835 $84,631 $83,695
If more than 7 persons, for each additional person, add $8,740 $8,616 $8,522

Canadians seeking to sponsor their spouses or common-law partners do not need to have a minimum necessary income.

Excluded from these amounts include, amongst other things, any amounts paid to the sponsor under the Employment Insurance Act, other than special benefits.

Looking Beyond the Notices of Assessment

Visa officers must accept Canada Revenue Agency Notices of Assessments as proof of income when a sponsorship application is filed.

Indeed, as demonstrated in the internal Operational Bulletin below, it is now increasingly common for immigration authorities to simply request the sponsor’s information directly from the Canada Revenue Agency.

OB635
Beyond the Notice of Assessment

However, the Immigration Appeal Division (the “IAD“) can look beyond the Notice of Assessment.  In Motala v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2012 FC 123, the Federal Court stated that:

… the IAD has, as a consequence of its discretionary power to consider whether the grounds of inadmissibility had been overcome and hence whether special relief should be granted, the authority to require evidence corroborative of the income reported in the Notice of Assessment. The IAD is permitted to question the accuracy and veracity of certain financial documents submitted in support of sponsorship applications and to assign relative and proportionate evidentiary weight to them. I would observe, in closing, that this interpretation of the scope of the IAD jurisdiction is consistent with the objective of the Regulations as a whole, which are designed to ensure that those sponsored to come to Canada can in fact be provided for, and that the integrity of the sponsorship provisions of the IRPA is not eroded through inaccurate statements of income, whether deliberate or accidental.

In Dhaliwal v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2017 FC 191, the Federal Court affirmed a decision of the IAD where the IAD refused to accept as legitimate the income declared in a re-assessment that occurred between the visa office’s refusal of an application and the IAD hearing.