Canada immigration form with Approved stamp on it

Sponsoring an immigrant

Important information about sponsorship and health insurance

Immigration has played a huge role in the development of Canada, and it continues to do so today. People from all over the world choose Canada as a place they want to live and work in and bring their families to.

If you are a permanent resident of Canada, you have the ability to sponsor your relatives to come to Canada. If your family member is eligible to become a permanent resident, that person will be allowed to live, study and work legally in Canada, and will have the same rights and freedoms as a Canadian citizen, including health care coverage through OHIP.

Who can you sponsor?

The Government of Canada allows you to sponsor:

  • Your spouse or common-law partner
  • Your dependent children and adopted children
  • Your parents and grandparents

How long does sponsoring an immigrant take?

One of the most common questions asked about the sponsorship process relates to the time frame. Although the processing time varies based on factors such as the type of application, who is being sponsored and where the sponsored person currently resides, here are the general guidelines:

  • For person(s) to be sponsored living outside of Canada: For a spouse, common-law partner or a dependent child, it takes approximately 44 days. For parents and grandparents, it can take up to 41 months. However, parents and grandparents may also qualify for a super visa, which allows them to visit Canada for up to two years. Sponsorship is processed immediately for children who are adopted from outside Canada.
  • For person(s) to be sponsored currently living in Canada: For a spouse or common-law partner already in Canada, the initial assessment takes up to 14 months to complete, and an additional 8 months is required for security and background clearance.

Other sponsorship factors

Acceptance is also based on medical, security and background checks. Learn more about the processing times and the application process for sponsoring an immigrant at

Health care for newly sponsored immigrants

One of the main reasons new immigrants come to Canada is to have a better quality of life, and a big part of this is gaining access to high-quality health care and medical assistance.

New immigrants to Ontario will have access to its universal, publicly funded health care system through OHIP. However, because there is a three-month waiting period before new residents have access, it is advisable for all new residents to apply for OHIP as soon as they move to the province.

Exemptions from the waiting period are granted to newborns, adopted children under 16 who are eligible for OHIP, people moving from other provinces directly into a long-term care facility in Ontario, and other protected individuals. Learn more about the OHIP coverage waiting period.

Paying for health care in Ontario during the waiting period

Many recent immigrants opt to invest in private health insurance during the waiting period to help offset the costs of medical care during this time.

Many people fail to realize the significant cost of unexpected medical emergencies and health care. Without health insurance during your OHIP waiting period, you have to pay for all medical expenses out of your pocket – not an ideal situation for most newcomers.

Whether you are a permanent resident, foreign student or foreign worker, Blue Cross has short-term health insurance plans that are available to help you protect your health and your finances.