How Does The End Of A Partnership Affect A Common-Law Sponsorship

Being miles away from your partner can be a testing experience for anyone. This is primarily why the Canadian immigration system is designed to ensure faster processing for sponsorship applications for spouses and common-law partners.

In 2021, 64000 partners were able to join their loved ones in Canada through the Canadian immigration system and common law and spouse sponsorship. Sadly, many of these partnerships may not last for several reasons. The question, though, is, would their sponsorship stay in place?

What Is A Sponsorship, A Sponsorship Agreement, and A Sponsorship Undertaking?

In an immigration process, sponsorship means you agree to look after a family member if they arrive in Canada as a permanent resident, financially and otherwise.

A Sponsorship Agreement is an agreement signed between the sponsor and the person being sponsored. The agreement outlines the details of the sponsorship and the sponsor’s promise to provide basic facilities, including food, shelter, clothes and other household supplies. This also includes the healthcare facilities not covered by the public healthcare system.

A sponsorship undertaking differs from the agreement as it’s a promise between the sponsor and the government. The undertaking basically states that the sponsored partner will not have to apply for social assistance from the government. If they apply for social assistance, the sponsor will be required to pay back the amount to the government.

This undertaking is an important part of the law regarding common-law sponsorships and any alterations to the said partnership. It’s something we will revisit later in the blog.

What Is A Common Law Partnership?

According to the federal government’s standard definition, a common law partnership involves two people living together, sharing a household, and having combined affairs. From an immigration perspective, this relationship should be at least a year old, calculated from the day the two partners can provide evidence of cohabitation in their relationship.

So, who could be a common-law partner?

  • Someone who isn’t legally married to you;
  • They have to be over 18 years of age;
  • They can be either sex;
  • You have to have lived with them for at least 12 months consecutively.

What You Need to Know About Sponsoring A Common-Law Partner


When a couple is married, they can apply for a spousal sponsorship. Of course, this doesn’t apply to common-law couples. However, Canadian immigration laws do allow you to sponsor a common-law partner to Canada, as long as the partnership can be proven. Here are some proofs that may be used:

  • A declaration of the partnership;
  • Shared bank account statements;
  • Any statement of shared debit or credit cards;
  • Shared property and evidence of said property;
  • Any evidence of shared rent;
  • Shared insurance policies;
  • Proof of household purchases together.

Some other factors to keep in mind for applying for a common law sponsorship:

  • The required 12-month period of cohabitation before applying for immigration sponsorship can’t have any long periods of separation. Shorter periods of separation are also only justified if they’re due to family obligations or business or work-related travel.
  • Having a child with your Canadian partner doesn’t eliminate the 12-month cohabitation requirement for common law partners.
  • There are financial obligations during the sponsorship undertaking with or without marriage.
  • You can still sponsor your common-law partner if you’re not in Canada; however, there may be some technical considerations here as you’ll have to prove your intentions to take up residence in Canada with your partner once their application gets through.

How Long Does the Undertaking Last?

As we mentioned earlier, the sponsor needs to sign an undertaking promising the Canadian government that they will provide the basic necessities for the person they’re sponsoring. This undertaking period is for 3 years and starts from the day the sponsored partner becomes a permanent resident in Canada.

This 3-year period undertaking applies to spouses, partners, and common law partners.  

What Happens When A Partnership Breaks Down During This Period of Undertaking?


Sponsorship can be broken down in several ways. The breakdown here refers to a situation in which your sponsor is either not able to provide for you or isn’t willing to support you. This could be due to several reasons ranging from the sponsor losing their job and being unable to support you to simply being unwilling to support you because of a partnership going south.

So, what happens to the sponsorship and your permanent resident status in this situation?

Well, if you’re a permanent resident, your status remains fairly unaffected whether you’re still in a relationship with your sponsor or not. A sponsor can’t back out of their agreement or undertaking during the 3-year period.

However, while your ex-partner can’t end the sponsorship, they can still jeopardize your immigration application and status in several ways. For instance, they could blame you for immigration misrepresentation or for any criminal activities. Even when these accusations aren’t true, they do have the power to create complications for your immigration status.


If you think your ex-partner could put your immigration status at risk, reach out to an experienced immigration lawyer in Canada. We suggest discussing your case with the team at Nanda & Associate Lawyers. They’re Canadian immigration lawyers with many successful cases under their belts—they’ll definitely help you devise a plan to secure your immigration status.

Give them a call to discuss this further.  

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