August 17, 2009
Can We Sponsor Our Sick Brother?
Q. My youngest brother who is 51 years old lives in Trinidad and has Downs Syndrome. He lived with my eldest brother who recently passed away, so now he is alone and unable to take care of himself. We have made temporary arrangements for a caregiver to stay with him.
I live in Toronto, and so do two of our brothers. We have our own houses and have good paying jobs. We would like to have our brother come to Canada as a permanent resident so that we can take care of him. Are we able to sponsor him? As he is the last surviving member of our family still living in Trinidad, what are his chances of coming to Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds? Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
A. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon question. While there is a provision in law allowing a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who lives in Canada alone and has no other relatives to sponsor one of his/her relatives from overseas, as you have other siblings this would not apply to your situation. As your brother has Downs Syndrome, he could be medically inadmissible to Canada. An attempt to seek a humanitarian and compassionate grounds application is possible but would have to be extremely well prepared and documented focusing mainly on the issues of family reunification and that he would not become a public charge. Recent amendments however allow Immigration Canada to choose not to process such an application so there is no guarantee the application would even be considered. Applications of this type are fact driven and more often than not immigration officers refuse and err on the side of protecting finite Canadian social services. If you do decide to move forward with this application set realistic expectations and see it more as a potential back up plan and one that would likely not be successful. Good luck!