Is the new Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship Program just “Bread and Circuses?”

January 2014

I recently learned an awesome new phrase, “Bread and Circuses.” According to Wikipedia, it comes from Latin and stands for “a superficial means of appeasement”. Wikipedia says that when it comes to politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace.

I listen to CBC radio news first thing in the morning, and one of the leading news stories on January 2, 2014 was the reopening of the parent/grandparent sponsorship program. This program had previously been suspended for two years while the government dealt with a backlog of applications.

Because the government only dealt with 44% of the 160,000 backlogged applications by the end of September 2013, the re-opening of the sponsorship program was to be limited to 5,000 applications, on a first-come first-served basis.

Recently, a colleague claimed that, “Only 5,000 applications will be accepted for processing. That target was likely met on the second, if not the first, day applications were accepted.”

If my colleague is right, then the parent/grandparent sponsorship program is already closed for the remainder of 2014. And since it appears that the government will continue to limit applications to 5,000 annually until the backlog is completely cleared, then the majority of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who want to apply to bring their elderly family member to Canada will be out of luck.

Canada plans to admit 20,000 parents/grandparents in 2014. However, since applications submitted before the 2011 pause will be processed first, these individuals will come from the estimated 80,000 backlogged applications that existed on January 2, 2014. Anyone submitting their application this year cannot expect to have it processed in 2014, or even 2015 or later.

The government is getting great media attention for re-opening the program. But is it all just “bread and circuses?”


Want to learn more? Read what the government is saying about this program:

“Backgrounder” May 17, 2013 Citizenship and Immigration Canada

“Backgrounder” December 18, 2013 Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Regulatory Impact Statement, Canada Gazette, January 1, 2014