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Expected to Work/Barriers to Full Employment Policy & Procedures

Published Date: February 18, 2016
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04 Special Groups

Persons with Immigration Status

CIC Terminology and Rules

Effective June 28, 2002, CIC passed the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to replace the Immigration Act of 1976.

The following definitions (in alphabetical order) apply to terms and rules under IRPA

Canadian Citizen
A person who is a citizen of Canada has the right to enter and remain in Canada regardless of whether their citizenship was acquired through naturalization, parentage or birth in Canada. 

Convention Refugee or Protected Person
A foreign national, inside or outside Canada, selected under IRPA as a convention refugee or as a person in similar circumstances, taking into account Canadas humanitarian tradition with respect to the displaced and the persecuted.

Economic Class
Foreign nationals admitted to Canada under the Economic Class are selected for their skills and ability to contribute to Canada’s economy.

The Economic Class is comprised of two main streams:  

  • Skilled workers are assessed according to a point system (e.g. education, official languages, employment experience, age, arranged employment in Canada, adaptability), which evaluates their ability to adapt to the Canadian economy.
  • Business immigrants are selected to support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy, either through their direct investment, their entrepreneurial activity or self-employment.  Business immigrants include investors, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed.  
  • Provincial Nominees are assessed by provinces or territories that have entered into an agreement with CIC to identify immigrants that would economically benefit their province or territory. (CIC is responsible for medical and security checks along with visa issuance). 

Family Class (FC Sponsored Immigrant)
A Canadian Citizen or a permanent resident of Canada who is 18 years of age or older may sponsor family member(s) to Canada under the Family Class Category.  The Family Class consists of a very specific and defined group of relatives.  Family members who may be sponsored include a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner of the same or opposite sex, a son or daughter, parent or grandparent, and orphaned brother, sister, niece, nephew, grandson or granddaughter. Family Class applicants are not assessed under the “point system” that applies to economic immigrants but are assessed on the basis of their relationship to their sponsor.  All applicants undergo medical and security requirements as applicable.

Undertakings usually begin upon the person’s landing in Canada and continue until the duration ends (see table below).

  • For the period prior to 1997 the length of undertaking varied between 1 – 10 years.
  • For the period of April 1997 to June 2002 the length of Undertaking was 10 years for all family class sponsorships regardless of the type of relationship.
  • For the period of June 2002 to present the length of undertaking varies on the relationship to the sponsor.
Immigrant Status Code Relationship Duration of Undertaking
FC1 Spouse 3 years
FC2 Fiancé – no longer an immigrant category for new cases after June 27, 2002; however, cases in the system up to that date will be processed as FC2 10 years
FC3 Son / Daughter

  • Dependent child of sponsor, sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner.
    • If less than 19 at time of landing: up to the age of 22 (maximum of 10 years)  

  • All other dependent children: 10 years


A child who has landed as a dependent of the parent is coded as a FC1 upon confirmation of Permanent Residency.

FC4 Parents and grandparents 20 years
FC5 Orphaned brother / sister / nephew / niece / grandchild 10 years
FC6 Child to be adopted See FC3, part a)
FC7 Other relative 10 years
FC9 Child adopted by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident See FC3, part (a)
FCC Common-law partner (same and opposite sex) 3 years 
FCC Conjugal partner (same and opposite-sex) 3 years
FCH Member of the family class but where the person was permitted forward for reasons of humanitarian and compassionate consideration Verify with Case Processing Centre-Mississauga (CPC-M)

Foreign National

An individual who is not a permanent resident or citizen of Canada, including a citizen or national of another country, or a stateless person who has been displaced from their country.

Foreign (International) Student
A foreign student is a temporary resident approved by an immigration officer to study in Canada.  Foreign nationals who wish to take academic, professional or vocational training at any university, college or other authorized institution must obtain a Study Permit before entering Canada.  Some foreign nationals may study in Canada without a Study Permit (e.g., minor children of foreign workers or foreign students).

IMM 5292 Confirmation of Permanent Residence
Under IRPA, the IMM 5292 Confirmation of Permanent Residence replaced the IMM 1000 Immigrant Visa or Record of Landing as the new immigration landing document.  

Length of Undertaking
The length of undertaking generally begins on the date the sponsored immigrant is granted Permanent Resident status.

Permanent Resident (Landed Immigrant)
A foreign national approved by CIC to lawfully enter and remain in Canada permanently.  Clients normally apply as a permanent resident outside Canada.  If all criteria is met, an Immigrant visa is issued by the immigration officials overseas. The individual is considered a Permanent Resident of Canada after presenting that visa to the port of entry.  Under some circumstances, foreign nationals from within Canada can apply for permanent resident status. Permanent resident status may be granted because of a successful application as a sponsored immigrant, a refugee, or under an independent category such as an investor skilled worker or provincial nominee.   Permanent residents who have resided in Canada for three years are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.  Permanent residents enjoy all the rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Government-assisted Refugees, Privately Sponsored Refugees, and Protected Persons Landed in Canada are permanent residents of Canada and are entitled to all the rights and privileges of Canada. 

Permanent Resident Card (PRC)
Since the introduction of IRPA, a PRC (a.k.a. a Maple Leaf Card) is issued to all new permanent residents. Permanent residents who were landed before June 28, 2002 are entitled to apply for a PRC but they do not have to do so unless they are planning to travel outside of Canada.  The card is mandatory for all permanent residents to be able to re-enter Canada from abroad.

If the person is granted Canadian citizenship, the PRC is revoked. 

Refugee Claimant or Person In Need of Protection (within Canada)
A foreign national may claim refugee protection at a port of entry or after entry into Canada.  CIC decides within three days whether the foreign national is eligible to have their claim heard before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).  If the IRB confers Convention Refugee status, the person may apply for permanent residence in Canada.  As a refugee claimant, these individuals are not eligible for federal government assistance.  They may obtain a work or study permit from CIC and may be eligible for IS provided they meet other eligibility criteria.

Social Insurance Number (SIN) 900-Series
SINs are issued by Human Resources and Social Development Canada (not CIC). SINs that begin with a “9” are issued to individuals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents and require a SIN for employment purposes or for other authorized uses (e.g. to file for income tax).

Effective March 30, 2003, all new SINs beginning with 9 have an expiry date. SINs starting with a “9” will be valid until the end of the person’s authorized stay in Canada, as determined by CIC. Current 900-series SINs without an expiry date; expire on April 3, 2004. If a person requires their SIN after that date, they will need to reapply. They will be issued the same SIN number but the card will have an expiry date.

The sponsor/Co-Signer:

  • Has a financial obligation to support a person they have agreed to sponsor for the period of sponsorship undertaking, which generally begins from the date of permanent residence. 
  • Is responsible for providing lodging, care and maintenance for the sponsored person and accompanying dependants.
  • Is responsible for their family member for the full length of the undertaking regardless of any change in circumstances.

The sponsor and the principal applicant on each sponsorship (if they are a spouse or over 22 years of age) sign a sponsorship agreement (separate from the Sponsorship Undertaking), which confirms their mutual obligations and responsibilities.

In those cases where there is a minimum necessary income that must be met, a sponsor’s financial resources may include a spouse’s income. In these cases, the spouse co-signs the agreement and Sponsorship Undertaking and assumes the same obligations as the sponsor for care and support of the sponsored family member, and is jointly liable in default.

Sponsorship Default
A sponsor or co-signer is considered in default of their sponsorship obligations if social assistance benefits are issued to a sponsored family member at any point during the length of their undertaking.

Temporary Resident
A temporary resident is a foreign national who is lawfully in Canada on a temporary basis. Temporary residents include students, foreign workers, and visitors (tourists).

Temporary Foreign Worker
Foreign nationals may work temporarily in Canada under certain conditions. Generally, the IRPA requires foreign nationals who seek employment in Canada to apply for a Work Permit abroad. A Work Permit is usually valid only for a specified job, employer and time period. Such authorization is only issued if they will not adversely affect employment opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Some temporary workers do not require a Work Permit to work in Canada (e.g., religious workers, foreign media, diplomats). 

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
Formerly called Minister’s Permit. A foreign national possessing this special permit, issued by the Minister of CIC, can stay temporarily in Canada. The IRPA gives the Minister, or delegate, discretion to allow otherwise inadmissible or removable persons to enter or remain in Canada. TRP’S are authorized on humanitarian or compassionate grounds or in the national interest. The TRP allows the holder to remain in Canada for the period stated in the permit only. Permits are issued for a maximum of 3 years but can be extended or cancelled at any time by the Minister.

Verification of Status (VOS)
In August, 2012 CIC discontinued issuing certified true copies of immigration documents to clients and instead issues a plain paper, uncertified VOS document that confirms pertinent historical information from the original documents.  The VOS is issued by CIC for requests pertaining to: Confirmation of Permanent Residence, Record of Landing, Visitor Record, Work Permit, Amendments to Immigrant Records, Authorization to Return to Canada, Study Permit, Exclusion Order, Deportation Order, Permit to Come Into and Remain in Canada, Certificate of Departure and Departure Order.

A person in Canada as a tourist. They may also hold a Visitor Record.