A friend was sponsored to come to Canada but the sponsor left her. What can she do?

Last reviewed June 2024 by the Clicklaw editors

Canadian citizens and permanent residents who live in Canada can apply to sponsor their family members to live with them in Canada. Sponsors must be able to prove they can meet their sponsored relative’s basic needs (food, clothing, and shelter) and support them financially so that they won’t need to ask for financial help from the government. If the sponsored person receives financial assistance from the BC government during the sponsorship agreement period, the sponsor must pay the amount back. The sponsor must agree to support the person for between 3 to 20 years. The length of time of this support depends on the age of the sponsored person and how he or she is related to the sponsor.

Sponsorship breakdown

Sponsorship breakdown is when the sponsor cannot or will not support the sponsored person, and the sponsored person is unable to support themselves and/or their dependents.

If a sponsor abuses their sponsored relative or makes unreasonable demands, this is also considered sponsorship breakdown. Abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, sexual, and financial.

Sponsorship Breakdown (Legal Aid BC) explains what to do if a sponsor is no longer willing or able to provide support for someone they sponsored. It covers the rights of the sponsored person, what to do if there is abuse, and applying for welfare. It also includes a list of services and local community organizations who can help.

Helpful information

  • Mothers Without Status (YWCA): This booklet provides practical information for service providers working with mothers who have no legal status.
  • Sponsorship Undertaking Default (Government of BC): This is temporary financial assistance that you may be able to get if you’re facing hardship and waiting for sponsorship confirmation.

Helpful services

If there is abuse involved and you think you or your children are in immediate danger, get help right away from the police by calling 911.