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Canada Reverts to Controversial Lottery Method for 2020 Parents and Grandparents Program

On January 5, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began issuing invitations to those who applied for the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) in 2020. Invitations were sent to applicants who applied in the Fall of 2020. The program opened for applications on October 13 and closed on November 3, 2020. The 2020 PGP intake was originally going to accept 21,000 candidates, however, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this number was reduced to only 10,000. 

The history of the PGP and lottery system

As is typical for the program, the number of applications far exceeded the 10,000 invitations issued. In order to narrow it down, the IRCC employed the controversial lottery method, randomly selecting potential sponsors. This means that, regardless of the order of application, all candidates have an equal chance of receiving an invitation. However, some have criticized this method for failing to prioritize early applicants.

After receiving heavy criticism for the lottery method, in 2019 the government reverted to a first-come, first-served system, issuing invitations to the first 20,000 applicants. More than 100,000 candidates attempted to apply, and the quota for the program was filled within ten minutes.

Is family really a priority in Canada?

While the Canadian government claims to prioritize family reunification, it is clear that the demand far exceeds the number of invitations issued. The quota for this program has increased steadily since 2014, yet sponsorship still only accounts for six percent of all Canadian immigration. Economic immigration continues to account for the vast majority of invitations to apply issued by the IRCC.

In 2021, IRCC will issue up to 30,000 invitations through the PGP. Intake dates for the 2021 PGP have not yet been announced.

Anya Leibovitch

Anya Leibovitch is a writer, editor, and translator based in Montreal. She writes about the city’s tech and literary scene, as well as immigration.

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