Last week the Toronto Star ran a story about foreign national spouses who are trapped in Canada’s cumbersome Inland Sponsorship Program

Many Canadians opt for the inland sponsorship route because of its convenience. By using the inland sponsorship route, a person may live with their foreign national spouse while immigration is processing their file. The article alluded to a number of issues with inland sponsorship, such as the initial assessment phase and the requirement for the spouse to stay in Canada pending the approval of his/her application.

However, as several articles have alluded, the process is very difficult on the family. The Inland Sponsorship route previously requires an applicant to stay in Canada while their application is being assessed. Previously the applicant could not work in Canada until their initial assessment was complete.

The result of this process was significant emotional and financial hardship on the families.

The Government has attempted to address some of the difficulties. For example it has created a pilot program which allows Inland Spouses to receive a work permit before the initial assessment of their application is complete.

However, the government has done little address the lengthy time it takes to approval an inland sponsorship. Currently, it takes approximately 24-months to approve an inland sponsorship. The result is that couples have to face significant emotional turmoil while their application is being approved.

Changes are needed to this program. The group known as Inland Sponsorship has been preparing a petition to change to request a change to the program. The petition can be found on’s website.