Canadians have a history of promoting equal rights for same sex couples, like marriage, spousal benefits, and spousal sponsorship. Canada became one of the first countries outside Europe to legalize same sex marriage nationwide in 2005.
Beginning in 2003, the process started as a series of court cases legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples across nine of Canada’s thirteen provinces. In 2005 marriage equality became legal nationwide, and in 2006 this process upheld. This recognition of same sex couples granted the same rights and those of traditional couples, meaning that spousal sponsorship privileges would also apply.
Spousal Sponsorship: The Process
Spousal sponsorship is based on the idea that there is one member of the relationship who is living in Canada as a Canadian resident. This spouse can act as the sponsor for the non-resident and help him or her obtain citizenship. The process of obtaining sponsorship is a two-step process.
Determining the Sponsor’s Eligibility
The Case Processing Centre in Mississauga will assess the spouses eligibility. While it is accepted that the spouse may reside outside of Canada during the application process to stay together as a couple, the sponsor must show the intention to reside in Canada full time and be a full Canadian citizen.
Spousal eligibility is both more complicated and more accepting than it would seem. A spouse is eligible if the couple was married in Canada, and also if legally married in many other countries. Additionally unmarried couples can be eligible for spousal sponsorship. Common law spouses are considered those who have cohabitated for at least a year without getting married. Conjugal spouses are considered those in a dedicated relationship, but who are unable to share the same dwelling for some reason, usually, immigration laws or fear of persecution.
Spousal Sponsorship: Canadian Culture
Canada has long been leading the way in acceptance. In addition to offering equal rights to same sex couples, Canada has also offered sanctuary to gay and lesbian couples from less tolerant areas. Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister has offered asylum to Russia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered peoples.
The results of acceptance are showing too. The establishment of new households in ages 20-44 has increased 1.1% compared to a national decline for older age groups. This growth has been driven by immigration in what is considered critical age forming groups.
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