Will tighter family reunification rules actually save taxpayers money?
While some would argue that Canada has gone to great lengths to unite families in the past, those day are gone, it seems.
The federal government is making it harder for Canadian families to bring their parents and grandparents from abroad. Those seeking to bring older family members to settle in Canada will need to have higher incomes and agree to financially support their extended families for much longer.
The new rules will increase the minimum income requirement for sponsoring a parent or grandparent by 30%, double the sponsorship undertaking period from ten to twenty years, and reduce the maximum age of a dependent to 18.
The average age of a family reunification applicant right now is roughly 65 years and nearly half of all health care money is spent on people over that age, according to government estimates.
At the same time, government figures suggest that about 3% of sponsored parents or grandparents end up on social assistance, a number that climbs to over 20% once their sponsor no longer has to repay those costs.
What's worse, critics suggest, is that the authorities don't go after those sponsors who skip on their obligations, leaving taxpayers in the lurge.
The government is also moving to restrict dependent children that can accompany parents or grandparents to Canada as part of this family reunification, saying now the cutoff age will be 18 years old.
Previously, other children of parents, who were 22 years old or older if still in school and dependent, could also be sponsored.
Do these changes make sense to you? Have you had direct experience bringing family members to Canada?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money