What does “sponsorship default” mean?

When the sponsoring group submits their sponsorship application, they make a formal agreement with the Canadian government to provide the sponsored refugees with financial, emotional and settlement support. During the sponsorship period, the group is collectively responsible for the basic needs of the sponsored refugee(s), including monthly income support.

During the sponsorship period, if the sponsoring group doesn't meet their obligations, either financial or non-financial, and are unwilling to try to fix the issues, they are collectively found responsible for a sponsorship breakdown. A sponsorship breakdown is an official declaration that an irreparable failure to meet the obligations outlined in the sponsorship agreement has occurred. If the sponsoring group is responsible for the breakdown, a sponsorship default will be declared by Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

As a consequence, a sponsoring group found in default may be barred from sponsoring other refugees until they have satisfied regulatory requirements. This happens when:

  • An IRCC officer determines that the sponsoring group have met their obligations
  • The sponsoring group has reimbursed any payments or supports issued to refugees during the sponsorship period (e.g. social assistance)

A Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) may be placed on probation until all terms have been met, be suspended, or have their status cancelled completely.