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What information do I need to show OW about my immigration status to get financial assistance?

Question
What information do I need to show OW about my immigration status to get financial assistance?

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What information do I need to show OW about my immigration status to get financial assistance?
Reviewed: 
May 5, 2020
Answer

If you’re a refugee claimant and you can show that you’ve made a refugee claim, you should qualify for OW right away. But OW may ask you for proof of your refugee claim status from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If you can’t get proof because IRCC offices are closed right now, OW should not disqualify you. If you’re denied OW, contact a community legal clinic.

If your refugee claim has been rejected, you might still qualify for OW if you can show proof that you have filed:

  • a notice of appeal at the Refugee Appeal Division or
  • an application for leave and judicial review to the Federal Court to qualify for OW.

If you’ve made a humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) application for permanent resident status, you may be able to get OW. You should get legal advice. To prove that you have made an H&C application, you can show confirmation that you’ve paid the processing fee, or a letter from IRCC acknowledging your application. OW might ask for a copy of the forms you submitted with your H&C application.

As of March 19, 2020, CBSA is not removing most people from Canada. This will be in place until at least May 21, 2020. There might be an exception to this if CBSA thinks you’re a danger to the public or a threat to security in Canada.

You will have to explain your situation and provide some proof by email. Contact your community legal clinic for help if you don’t have a legal representative and you’re denied OW.

Sponsored family members and refugees

If you’re a permanent resident who was sponsored by your parent, spouse, or child, your sponsor may have to repay any OW you receive if you are still within your sponsorship ‘undertaking’ period. The undertaking is a promise your sponsor makes to the government that they will support you for a certain period of time. There are different undertaking periods depending on the type of sponsorship, for example:

Type of sponsorship Undertaking period
Spouse and common law partner 3 years
Dependent children under 22 10 years or until age 25
Dependent children over 22 3 years
Parents and grandparents 10 or 20 years, depending on when you signed the sponsorship undertaking

If you’ve been sponsored and you need financial assistance, but you’re are still within your sponsorship undertaking period, contact your local community legal clinic for advice.

If you came to Canada as a privately-sponsored refugee, your sponsorship group is responsible for supporting you financially for your first year in Canada. After one year, you can apply for OW.

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