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Common Questions

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

Last reviewed in April 2023 by the Clicklaw Editors.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents who live in Canada can apply to sponsor (bring) their family members to live with them in Canada. The sponsor must agree to support the person for three to 10 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 is when the sponsor cannot or will not support the sponsored person, and the sponsored person is unable to support themselves and/or their dependants.

Good starting points include:

  • Sponsorship Breakdown, from Legal Aid BC, explains what to do if a sponsor is no longer willing or able to provide support. It covers the rights of the sponsored person, what to do if there is abuse, applying for welfare, and who can help. It includes a list of services and local community organizations who can help.
  • Mothers Without Status, from the YWCA, provides practical information for service providers working with women who have no legal status.

Need more help?

  • 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. You can also call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 to get help such as finding an emergency shelter (a safe house) or a transition house.
  • Call Legal Aid BC Call Centre at 1-866-577-2525 to apply for legal aid. You can also call their direct immigration line at 1-888-601-6076.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

sponsorship, sponsorship breakdown, applying for welfare, help for new immigrants