Reuniting Canadian citizens and permanent residents with their parents and grandparents helps to strengthen Canada. That is why this country has one of the world"s most generous sponsorship programs for parents and grandparents, and why we continue to improve it.
As many families who are working to sponsor parents and grandparents probably know, on February 1, access closed to the online Interest to Sponsor form. Following on this, on March 20, 2018, we began to notify potential sponsors whose submissions were selected that their confirmation numbers have been posted on our website.
Our government realizes that helping people reunite with their parents and grandparents is an important issue for many families in this country. As a result, we"ve made the Parent and Grandparent Program more fair and transparent, and we are working with potential sponsors to ensure they are informed and aware of what they need to do in this process.
For 2018, we are using the new selection process that we introduced last year. It gives all potential sponsors equal access to the application process and it is fairer in than past years, when applicants had to submit applications by courier and mail on a first come, first served basis.
This revised program aims to better inform potential sponsors about their applications, because it ensures that only those sponsors who will be included in the annual allotment of PGP applications need to take the time to submit sponsorship applications.
I want to also stress that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is doing all it can to receive up to 10,000 complete parent and grandparent sponsorship applications this year. For example, the department has shortened the period of time for applicants to submit complete sponsorship applications from 90 days to 60 days.
These kind of actions are yielding results. Between 2011 and last year, we reduced by more than 80 % the inventory of parents and grandparents applicants.
Finally, it"s worth noting that families can also consider the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. It allows holders to stay in Canada for up to two years on an initial visit, compared to six months for a regular visa.
The improvements we have made to programs, such as the PGP, demonstrate our commitment to keeping families together. Through them, we will continue to help newcomers to integrate, build stronger ties and to contribute to the future of Canada.